Testing of equipment and procedures at the Blue Grass plant has led to an array of enhancements and permitting updates discussed during a public meeting Sept. 13 in Richmond, Kentucky.
“I feel personally like a significant amount of progress can be seen here now,” said Craig Williams, co-chair, Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board. “With 59 independent systems to integrate it’s going to be challenging, but my confidence is very high.”
As the Blue Grass team continues to test all of its systems and processes they must submit permit modification requests to the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (KDEP). The department is ultimately responsible for signing off on final environmental permits for the U.S. Army and its contractors to operate the chemical demilitarization plant.
“We have a lot of things under review right now – it’s a pretty busy time,” said Dale Burton, Blue Grass Army Depot Section, KDEP.
The state’s environmental department is processing paperwork for the sixth revision to the plant’s Research, Development and Demonstration permit, which will transition permitting documents to a standard format, Burton said. They are also reviewing a Class 2 modification to the same permit, which covers the removal of the plant’s munitions washout system and the removal of cyanide formation from the destruction process. In addition, the department is working on the main plant’s waste analysis plan, a GB sampling modification and almost 20 more minor modifications.
“Revisions are a standard part of business as things change at a site,” Burton said after the meeting. “As plant engineers and technicians make additions, deletions or changes to equipment and processes, based on their testing and observations, it can change permit language and conditions. We work with the Blue Grass plant to incorporate these changes and ensure we continue to protect the workforce, community and environment.”