The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant destroyed more than half the mustard agent in obsolete chemical munitions stored for more than a half-century at the U.S. Army’s Pueblo Chemical Depot.
“This accomplishment is the result of the dedication and tenacity of the men and women who work at PCAPP,” said Walton Levi, site project manager. “The PCAPP team overcame a variety of technical and operational challenges associated with a First-Of-A-Kind processing facility and these challenges were tackled head-on by our very capable, well-trained and experienced workforce.”
Levi said the destruction of 50% equates to more than 220,000 munitions destroyed and eliminated from the stockpile.
“With this milestone, we are well positioned to complete 100% mustard agent destruction by the congressionally mandated deadline of December 2023,” he said.
The United States is destroying its remaining chemical weapons stockpile – mustard agent in Colorado and mustard and nerve agent in Kentucky – under the international Chemical Weapons Convention treaty.
The depot securely stores 155mm and 105mm projectiles and 4.2-inch mortar rounds containing the blister agent mustard in earth-covered igloos.
Later this year, PCAPP will finish processing 155mm projectiles and transition to the 105mm destruction campaign, using the main plant’s process of chemical neutralization followed by biotreatment to destroy the chemical agent drained from the shells. The 4.2-inch mortars and other problematic munitions will be destroyed in three Static Detonation Chambers now being assembled near the plant.
In recognition of hitting 50% chemical agent destruction, a community celebration will be held in April, Levi said. “Details are still being worked out, but we hope to see you on this day as we commemorate this achievement that has local, state and international implications,” he said.