The Blue Grass Laboratory is collecting data from eight perimeter monitoring locations on the Blue Grass Army Depot outside the footprint of the Blue Grass plant.
“These stations are used for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant historical record,” said Mark Needham, science and laboratory manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “The eight locations were chosen for the greatest probability to detect agent if there were an unlikely excursion from the plant.”
Each station holds two Depot Area Air Monitoring Systems, known as DAAMS, one for nerve agents GB and VX, and one for mustard agent. Technicians collect sorbent tubes from these stations daily and send them to the lab for analysis.
“If the plant near-real-time monitoring system alarms for a possible chemical agent, the plant will take immediate safety measures without waiting for DAAMS tube analysis,” Needham said.
The lab has been collecting data for about two years. This allowed the lab to check for possible seasonal interferents and get into a monitoring routine, as farmers fertilizing nearby fields, emissions from industry, and local pesticide use can interfere with the lab’s ability to clearly detect agent during analysis, Needham said at a March 13 public meeting.
Needham said the environmental monitoring protects the public interest, complies with Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection and program requirements, gathers historical data outside of the plant footprint but on the depot; and provides useful data about the operating record of the facility.
The monitoring information was recently provided to PEO ACWA, who will approve an initial monitoring baseline before going into operations. Monitoring will continue through operations and well into the closure phase of the project.