Surrogate chemicals similar to mustard agent were used during the first phase of testing at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Static Detonation Chamber.
“To observe the SDC units’ ability to destroy chemicals, we used ethylene glycol and monochlorobenzene, or MCB,” said Patrick Sullivan, environmental manager, PCAPP. “The ethylene glycol can simulate the agent, having similar thermal properties, while the MCB is used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the units as it is more difficult to destroy than the agent.”
These tests, as outlined in the SDC final operating permit, demonstrate that the units will operate as designed. During the first phase of testing, no agent is processed. Instead, inert projectiles containing ethylene glycol and metal cans containing either ethylene glycol or MCB were used.
“Ethylene glycol is the primary ingredient in antifreeze, and it is readily available. It has a similar amount of energy as the agent and behaves somewhat similarly when it is burned,” Sullivan said. “MCB is a compound that is commonly used for testing hazardous waste incinerators and has been used at other chemical demilitarization sites. Its chemical composition, which includes chlorine and benzene, makes it more stable and more difficult to burn.”