Agent destruction at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant remained steady in 2021.
“The PCAPP workforce demonstrated a great “can do” attitude throughout the 105mm projectile destruction campaign,” said Walton Levi, site project manager, PCAPP. “Their knowledge and commitment are why we had a productive and successful year at PCAPP.”
Through the end of the year, plant workers had destroyed more than 64% of the 105mm projectiles in the original U.S. chemical weapons stockpile stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot. This accounts for more than 245,000 projectiles and greater than 365 U.S. tons of mustard agent.
“That level of agent destruction by our workforce is remarkable, especially when you consider most of it was achieved in just one calendar year,” said Kim Jackson, plant manager, PCAPP.
The workforce achieved one-day destruction totals of more than 1,000 projectiles 23 times in 2021. Destruction activities peaked on Oct. 7, with workers eliminating 1,885 projectiles in a single day.
Steady workforce performance helped achieve several destruction milestones in 2021, including the destruction of half of the mustard-filled projectiles originally stored at PCD – about 390,000 projectiles in all – and the destruction of 75% of the agent contained in the stockpile.
Tours for U.S. government and military officials became a regular occurrence in 2021, with continued interest in workforce accomplishments. U.S. Congress members and officials from the Department of Defense and the State Department were among those witnessing PCAPP operations firsthand.
Progress also advanced toward bringing Static Detonation Chamber units online. On Oct. 7, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment finalized the SDC final operating permit, allowing trial burn testing to begin. This process assessed the units’ ability to deflagrate surrogate, non-agent chemicals and materials. Testing is projected to conclude in early 2022, after which agent destruction of 4.2-inch mortar shells will begin.
The PCAPP facility uses a two-step destruction process, neutralization followed by biotreatment, as the primary technology to destroy the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile in Colorado. Since agent destruction operations began in 2015, the Pueblo team has safely destroyed more than 2,100 U.S. tons of chemical agent.