The Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (PEO ACWA) is overseeing the safe and environmentally compliant destruction of the remaining U.S. chemical weapons stockpile located in Colorado and Kentucky. The PEO ACWA team continues to focus on the safety of the workforce and the public during the coronavirus pandemic. The PEO ACWA partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provided continual guidance throughout the pandemic to minimize the risk to the workforce and local community.
The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) is located at the Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD) near Richmond, Kentucky, and is destroying the remaining chemical weapons stockpile stored at BGAD. In March 2020, the CDC recommended continual chemical destruction operations, as past experience has shown that an operating plant in a steady state condition created a higher-level safety climate than an idled plant. As there are many oversight tasks at the site that are difficult or impossible to do remotely, the BGCAPP site project manager implemented increased safety measures to continue work at the plant.
BGCAPP Site-Specific COVID-19 Prevention Efforts
The following safety measures have been established at BGCAPP to reduce the risk to the workforce and communities in and around Richmond, Kentucky.
- Institute daily health self-screening for employees working at the plant and provide on-site screening for the workforce.
- Establish a COVID-19 hotline for employees.
- Provide access to a physician and nursing staff at an on-site medical facility for those requiring immediate medical aid.
- Establish an internal contact tracing team.
- Require face coverings that cover the mouth and nose.
- Increase sanitation and janitorial services with enhanced cleaning of common-use areas in the office.
- Provide sanitizing stations around the plant and encourage frequent handwashing.
- Implemented maximum use of teleconferencing and videoconferencing.
- Require physical distancing at all times. Enforce occupancy restrictions in all conference rooms.
- Provide community stakeholders with project updates through virtual meetings.
- Work with state regulators to continue public participation in the permitting process via electronic means.
- Implement CDC recommendations with health and safety reminders posted at the entrance and throughout office spaces. Provide frequent reminders via the public address system.
- Keep the workforce informed about prevention efforts through e-newsletters and other electronic forms of communication.
BGCAPP will continue to monitor local conditions and consult with appropriate officials and make necessary adjustments to pandemic response and prevention efforts.
PEO ACWA remains committed to meeting the Congressionally-mandated agent destruction deadline of Dec. 31, 2023, and the safety of the workforce, environment and community remains a top priority. The program executive officer will continue to evaluate the situation with the health and safety of employees and the local community at the forefront.