Blue Grass plant automated equipment destroyed a storage bottle containing a small amount of VX nerve agent May 29, following the destruction of the VX 155mm projectiles.
“The Department of Transportation, or DOT, bottles are designed for bulk storage and safe transport of toxic substances,” said Tom Reinhardt, quality assurance specialist—ammunition surveillance (QASAS), Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP). “This bottle contained VX agent from an agent-sampling program in 1983, where a rocket was drilled, the agent sampled, then the rest of the agent contained in the rocket was decanted into the DOT bottle for safe storage.”
A standard DOT bottle is manufactured from steel, has a capacity of three gallons and is sealed with a steel screw-in plug with Teflon tape on the threads. For the Blue Grass VX bottle, workers in full protective gear removed the plug and fed the open bottle into the automated Metal Parts Treater destruction process to thermally decontaminate it.
“By the nature of what’s stored in there, the nerve agent VX, we needed to get rid of it safely and in accordance with the international chemical weapons treaty,” said Rick Wright, QASAS, BGCAPP. “The destruction process went smoothly, and the bottle completed processing May 29.”
There are two DOT bottles remaining in storage at the Blue Grass Army Depot. Both contain mustard agent also from the 1983 agent-sampling activity and are overpacked in single-round containers. They are slated to be destroyed in the Explosive Destruction Technology at the end of the mustard-agent campaign.