The facility responsible for destroying all the mustard-agent projectiles at the Blue Grass plant passed a final air-monitoring test to allow workers to safely open the building to install equipment for the next activity.
“In January, workers completed agent decontamination activities within the Explosive Destruction Technology Enclosure Building, culminating in testing that verified it met the most stringent of agent decontamination standards,” said Dr. George Lucier, deputy chief scientist, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “This means everything within the building has been decontaminated to the point where it is at or below the acceptable air monitoring standard for the safety of workers, the community and the environment.”
This decontamination verification testing is the final agent air monitoring evaluation for formerly contaminated facilities after potential sources of chemical agent have been eliminated, said Lucier. This includes the search for and treatment of occluded spaces, which are areas that could potentially trap chemical agent that might not be reached by standard decontamination methods. The basic test method is to close up the building or area, turn off the ventilation to that area for a prescribed amount of time, then monitor the air for traces of chemical agent.
“Without the ventilation system pulling facility air through the filtration system, potentially undiscovered chemical agent sources off-gas and are detectable during this test,” Lucier said. “When detections are made, a team goes in to track down and decontaminate the source, and then the test is repeated. The facility and all equipment inside it passed the decontamination verification testing, and workers will now be able to safely continue preparation for the next activity.”
The facility is currently being modified to destroy containerized VX rocket warheads that have been drained of their chemical agent in the main plant and will be known as the Static Detonation Chamber 1200.