Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Monthly Recap – November 2022

Chemical Weapons Destruction at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP):

PCAPP is destroying the remaining U.S. chemical weapons stockpile stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD) in Colorado. The original stockpile consisted of approximately 780,000 total chemical weapons containing mustard agent. The Colorado stockpile originally comprised three chemical munition types: 155mm and 105mm projectiles and 4.2-inch mortar rounds. The first two campaigns are complete. The remaining 4.2-inch mortar round campaign is expected to end by the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty commitment of Sept. 30, 2023. U.S. public law mandates stockpile destruction by Dec. 31, 2023.


Project Update:

  • As of Nov. 30, approximately 702,000 projectiles have been destroyed throughout the duration of the PCAPP demilitarization project. This accounts for destruction of 91% of the mustard agent and approximately 90% of the original chemical weapons stockpile stored at PCD. Approximately 77,000 projectiles remain.
  • Static Detonation Chamber (SDC) destruction is the focal point of PCAPP operations. In November, more than 4,100 4.2-inch mortar rounds were destroyed.
  • Factory acceptance and installation of the Improved Cavity Access Machines (ICAM), including all change-over activities, are now complete.

Main Plant Update:

  • On Nov. 30, PCAPP received necessary permit approvals and authorizations from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) to start processing the 4.2-inch mortar rounds in the main plant using ICAMs and will begin a slow ramp up.
  • The plan incorporates ICAMs, which are part of the Munitions Washout System in the Agent Processing Building that will remove burster wells and mustard agent, and then rinse the munition bodies. In the original PCAPP design, destruction of the mortar rounds required a cutting process to drain the agent. With the ICAMs, agent will be removed with a vacuum system, making the entire process safer and increasing the rates of 4.2-inch mortar round destruction.
  • Integrated Operations Demonstrations for the ICAMS concluded on Nov. 12, after four days of testing PCAPP’s capabilities to safely perform normal operations and contingency response for the upcoming 4.2-inch mortar rounds campaign in the main plant.

SDC Update:

  • Three SDC units augment operations at PCAPP by destroying problematic munitions, including 4.2-inch mortar rounds. SDC technology uses thermal heating to safely detonate or deflagrate munitions, mustard agent and explosive components.
  • Since 4.2-inch mortar round destruction began Feb. 19 at the plant’s SDC complex, more than 19,700 rounds have been eliminated. In November, more than 4,100 rounds were destroyed. The original stockpile contained more than 97,000 4.2-inch mortar rounds.
  • Each SDC unit may now process approximately four munitions per hour. Since approval was given on Sept. 8, the SDC units have destroyed an average of 140 4.2-inch mortar rounds per day, with a best-ever processing day of 234 rounds on Nov. 21.
  • After months of environmental testing and analysis, a Multiple Pathway Health Risk Assessment was submitted on Nov. 3 to CDPHE, seeking to operate the SDC complex at full capacity.

Upcoming Meetings

Public Meeting to discuss a Colorado Permit Modification Request S027, Static Detonation Chamber Off-gas Treatment System Spray Dryer Drum Valve on Dec. 14, 2022, 3 p.m. MST
This permit modification requests the option to leave the spray dryer drum valve in the open position on the spray dryer drum in each of the three Static Detonation Chamber Off-gas Treatment System rooms to prevent potential safety issues.
Computer: Microsoft Teams
Phone: 1 469-998-5921, Conference ID: 294 787 140#

Permitting Working Group and Biotreatment Utilization Group Meetings, Dec. 14, 2022, at approximately 5 p.m. MST
Colorado Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission Meeting, Dec. 14, 2022, at approximately 5 p.m. MST
Zoom meeting information:
Phone:1 346 248 7799
Meeting ID: 851 2579 5932

New to PCAPP?

PCAPP is a facility built to destroy the chemical weapons stockpile stored at PCD. The main plant uses neutralization followed by biotreatment and is supplemented by Static Detonation Chamber units to destroy the remaining mustard agent in 4.2-inch mortar rounds. The safety of the workforce, neighboring communities and the environment is the project’s priority.

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