Static Detonation Chamber teams at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant will begin the first phase of detonation testing in late October or early November.
“The first phase of testing consists of surrogate trial burn tests using non-agent chemicals and conventional ammunitions,” said Mike Saupe, environmental manager, PCAPP. “This next testing phase will eventually pave the way for full operation of all three Static Detonation Chamber units.”
On Oct. 7, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment finalized the Static Detonation Chamber final operating permit, which allows the first of two phases of detonation testing to begin.
Phase one tests are designed to simulate the munitions detonation process. One part of the testing uses a mustard agent surrogate chemical called monochlorobenzene, or MCB.
“MCB is more difficult to destroy than mustard agent,” said Andy Shaffer, test coordinator, PCAPP. “If the chamber can destroy MCB, it will be able to burn mustard agent. The goal is to ensure and prove to state regulators that the units can safely destroy mustard agent.”
Testing data from phase one will be collected in a detailed report to CDPHE in early 2022. Phase two testing will evaluate the system’s ability to destroy agent-filled munitions and will begin once state regulators have given approval based on phase one.
Three Static Detonation Chamber units will augment the main plant by destroying 4.2-inch mortar rounds as well as problematic 155mm and 105mm projectiles containing mustard agent.