State officials approved two major hazardous waste permit modifications April 15 for the operation of the Blue Grass Static Detonation Chamber, or SDC, units.
“Permit modification approvals can be lengthy processes, but these went smoothly as state and facility personnel worked together to resolve issues that could have otherwise drawn out the process,” said April Webb, hazardous waste branch manager, Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, or KDEP. “It was a win-win situation.”
One of the modification requests submitted to KDEP was adding the SDC 2000 to augment the main plant by destroying overpacked GB M55 rockets, drained and containerized rocket warheads, and munition components. This will minimize risks associated with the handling and destruction of the aging rockets, said Amber Lewis, environmental engineer, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass.
“The other request was to refit the Explosive Destruction Technology with a redesigned off-gas treatment system,” Lewis said. “This will allow the system to effectively destroy nerve agent as the SDC 1200 and destroy drained, containerized VX rocket warheads.”
Both requests went through a public comment process early in 2022. KDEP had previously approved Temporary Authorization Requests to proceed with construction at both sites prior to granting approval for the permit modifications.
The next steps for the SDC units will be their systemization, or testing, phases, prior to their operation.