Program partners performed a mustard-agent sampling operation in May to fulfill Chemical Weapons Convention treaty requirements.
“This operation proves to the international community that we’re doing what we say we’re doing—destroying chemical agent,” said Eddie Whitworth, chief engineer, Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. “It’s been years in the planning and it completed successfully.”
A U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center team performed the sampling operation on site, much as the GB sampling operation was done in 2020. Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons inspectors selected nine specific projectiles to be tested and observed the whole process. The stockpile also contains two Department of Transportation bottles that hold mustard agent, and one of those was sampled as well.
“Operators drilled and tapped each projectile and removed an agent sample, which was verified in the on-site laboratory,” Whitworth said. “We did one to two projectiles a day, in a planned and controlled process, and worker and community safety were always at the forefront.”
Once sampled, each projectile was plugged, sealed into an overpack container and delivered to the Explosive Destruction Technology for processing. The mustard destruction campaign is expected to conclude later this year.