The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant resumed destruction operations June 4 after pausing its elimination of mustard agent.
“We had to halt processing after it was discovered the B05 system and some of the piping from the Spent Decontamination System tanks to the Agent Neutralization Reactors showed evidence of previous pinhole leaks,” said Kim Jackson, plant manager, PCAPP.
Due to the piping issue, operations in the plant’s Agent Processing Building paused April 27-May 8 then restarted May 8-12 before stopping again.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a temporary authorization for the use of chemical hoses to bypass the leaking pipes, in order to transfer solution from the Spent Decontamination System tanks to the Agent Neutralization Reactors for disposal. A third-party engineer reviewed the temporary configuration that was accepted by the state, allowing agent destruction in the Agent Processing Building to resume. A long-term, permanent piping repair/replacement strategy is being developed; that design will be sent to the state for approval and is anticipated to be implemented at the end of the 155mm projectile campaign this year.
Brian Ramdwar, deputy plant manager, PCAPP, said that in addition to the temporary chemical hose configuration installation bypassing the pinhole leak section of piping, a thorough inspection of the Spent Decontamination System piping upstream of the system’s tanks was conducted. That ensures the remainder of the piping delivering spent decon solution to the tanks was not showing any previous leaks.
“Although no leaks, or evidence of previous leaks, have been observed on this feed piping to the (Spent Decontamination System) tanks, out of an abundance of caution, we felt it was prudent as well as CDPHE requesting the inspection,” he said.