Blue Grass Plant Marks Secondary Waste Destruction Milestone

Operators move hoses to prepare for the transfer of hydrolysate into a truck tanker trailer at the Tanker Loading Station at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.
Operators move hoses to prepare for the transfer of hydrolysate into a truck tanker trailer at the Tanker Loading Station at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.

The Blue Grass plant completed one year of hydrolysate shipments Oct. 7.

“In the past year, we have safely shipped 39 tanker truck loads of hydrolysate from the destruction of GB nerve agent and 46 loads from the destruction of VX nerve agent,” said Amanda Mellen, acting waste manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “Our shipping specialists have done a great job of tracking and arranging off-site shipments. This activity involves a lot of people, time and effort. It’s one of our most-tracked waste streams.”

Shipments of hydrolysate to the Veolia North America facility near Port Arthur, Texas, began Oct. 7, 2021. The decision to ship hydrolysate, the wastewater product from chemical agent destruction, was made after it was determined the supercritical water oxidation system would not be used for its treatment. Tracking is done of the entire process, from loading of the tankers to the final destruction of the waste.

“We track the entire process from generation, storage, shipments and final disposal,” Mellen said. “We know exactly how much hydrolysate is placed in each tanker, where a specific shipment is on the road and its status, and when the hydrolysate is received and destroyed by the treatment, storage and disposal facility. More than 212,000 gallons of hydrolysate have been shipped and destroyed so far.”

Tanker driver teams receive specialized training and an emergency response team is on standby as each load travels south, Mellen said. The waste management department receives a certificate of destruction for each load, which is tracked by international inspectors for the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty as waste derived from chemical agent.

“We have a great team making sure this effort is being done safely, efficiently and according to procedure,” Mellen said. “The goal we are all working for is the complete destruction of chemical agent in Kentucky and all of its secondary waste streams.”

The plant will start shipping GB hydrolysate from the current destruction campaign when enough has built up in the storage tank as the GB agent is destroyed. It is estimated those shipments will begin around the end of November.

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