Hydrolysate, the product of nerve-agent neutralization at the Blue Grass plant, will be destroyed at an off-site hazardous-waste treatment, storage and disposal facility in Texas, program officials announced March 3.
“We considered three technologies: bio-treatment, deep-well injection and incineration,” said Michael Abaie, program executive officer, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives during the public meeting conducted online.
Off-site shipment to a facility capable of safe and environmentally compliant incineration was the only technology that met program needs, Abaie said. He also explained the process had a good safety and performance record.
Following the announcement to not use the plant’s supercritical water oxidation secondary treatment system, the decision of how and where to treat the hydrolysate had to be made. Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass selected Veolia as the destruction facility through a contract process, Abaie said.
“We used Veolia in Port Arthur in 2018 and 2020 to destroy program hydrolysate,” Abaie said, discussing his experience with the program’s temporary off-site treatment requirements from the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in Colorado. “They do a great job and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons recognizes them as a destruction facility.”
The shipment of hydrolysate is expected to begin in late summer, following the completion of permitting actions and other planning measures. Hydrolysate is the result of the mixture of nerve agent with hot water and sodium hydroxide to neutralize it. It is tested to ensure it contains no chemical agent or byproducts and that it does not contain flammable compounds before being released to await off-site shipment.