Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant chemical weapons destruction continued uninterrupted during a lengthy repair of the plant’s neutralization system components.
“The beauty of our plant is that we don’t have just one of anything,” said Brian Ramdwar, deputy plant manager, PCAPP. “We have redundancy, which allows us to continue operations at our normal rate while addressing any issues that may occur.”
In November 2021, a small leak was discovered during a routine inspection of piping from an Agent Washwater Separator tank, or AWS. An AWS tank is part of the Munitions Washout System, in which the chemical weapon is drained of agent and rinsed with high-pressure hot water. The tank collects this fluid before sending it to Agent Neutralization Reactors to destroy the mustard agent. Neutralization followed by biotreatment is used to destroy mustard agent drained from the chemical weapons.
“We have two AWS tanks,” Ramdwar explained, “and normally, we use only one of the tanks. Since we have this redundancy, the leaking tank was isolated and the other tank was available, which allowed us to efficiently continue operations while we conducted repairs.”
Having two tanks allowed for one to be repaired without impacting destruction rates, but it also allowed for preventative maintenance on the tank unaffected by the leak.
“We wanted to be good stewards and do the same repair on the other tank,” Ramdwar said. “Since one tank was compromised, it was possible that the other tank could also develop a leak. Redundancy in the system allowed us to do that.”