Getting Familiar with New Terms as the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) Progresses to Plant Closure
Chemical Accident/Incident (CAI) – Intentional or unintentional chemical events where chemical agent may be released into the environment and has the potential to threaten unprotected personnel. It is important to note the differences in the two terms here. A chemical accident is any event resulting from non-deliberate acts where safety is of primary concern. A chemical incident is any event resulting from deliberate terrorism or criminal acts where security is also of primary concern.
Chemical Agent Operation (also known as a Chemical Surety Operation) – Any activity that involves chemical surety material is a chemical agent, or surety operation (for example, storage, shipping, handling, manufacturing, maintenance, test chamber activities, laboratory activities, surveillance, demilitarization, decontamination, disposal and training). On the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD), the chemical surety material is mustard (in three varieties, H, HD and HT) that is stored in the Chemical Limited Area for demilitarization at PCAPP.
Chemical Event – A chemical event is a chemical surety material accident or incident, or event of concern based on the commander’s experience and discretion. The anticipated response to a chemical event is the activation of all or a select portion of the Initial Response Force as necessary. If the event is a chemical incident, additional security forces will be deployed.
Chemical Surety Program – A system of control measures designed to provide protection to the local population, workers, and the environment by ensuring that chemical surety operations are conducted safely; that chemical surety materials are secure; and that personnel involved in those operations meet the highest standards of reliability.
Engineering Controls – Measures taken to eliminate or reduce exposure to a chemical or physical hazard through the use or substitution of engineered machinery or equipment. Examples would include a device, room, or structure supported by a mechanical toxic exhaust system that provides containment of chemical agent vapor and/or liquid, preventing migration of the chemical agent hazard to immediate /adjacent areas or to the environment.
Initial Response Force (IRF) – The emergency action organization tasked to provide first response to a chemical accident/incident at PCD/PCAPP, under the command of the Commander, PCD. The IRF is composed of command and control elements and emergency teams capable of providing emergency medical services and initiating those actions necessary to prevent, minimize, or mitigate hazards to public health and safety, and to the environment.
Short Term Exposure Limit (STEL) – The maximum concentration to which unprotected chemical workers may be continuously exposed for up to 15 minutes. For mustard agent (H, HD and HT) exposures, a worker may only have one exposure per day at the STEL concentration. NOTE: The primary agent monitoring system at PCAPP measures on five-minute cycles, ensuring protective actions are taken well within the 15-minute duration.
Vapor Screening Level (VSL) – The VSL is the equivalent to the absolute STEL concentration, but it is independent of a designated sampling time (for example, time weighted average) and may be used to define the level of item cleanliness, or alternately the readout for a near real time instrument.
Worker Population Limit (WPL) – The level at which an unprotected worker can operate safely eight hours a day, five days a week for a working lifetime without adverse health effects.