Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Monthly Recap – March 2023

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

The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) is destroying the remaining U.S. chemical weapons stockpile 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 initially 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 date of Sept. 30, 2023. U.S. public law mandates stockpile destruction by Dec. 31, 2023.


Project Update:

  • As of March 31, PCAPP has destroyed more than 744,100 munitions or 95.4% of the original chemical weapons. Just over 35,000 munitions remain before the demilitarization mission is complete.
  • After several years of a global pandemic, PCAPP reported in late March that it has no COVID-19 cases on the site
  • The last week of March was busy at PCAPP, as two sets of visitors were on site to evaluate various areas of the plant. Members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spent the week assessing areas of the main plant and Static Detonation Chamber (SDC) complex, reviewing recent incidents and closure plans. CDC evaluators watched contingency exercises in progress, including a caustic tote spill at the SDC complex, an air-monitoring system sample line disconnection and an injury in the Explosion Containment Room. U.S. Army Materiel Command staff spent most of their visit in the PCAPP laboratory, ensuring that the plant was in compliance with agent standards storage.
  • The current combined (SDC and main plant) processing 28-day average is 479 munitions per day.

Main Plant Update:

  • The Pueblo plant workforce safely destroyed the final 4.2-inch mortar rounds filled with HT mustard agent on March 30, leaving HD 4.2-inch mortar rounds as the last munition category requiring elimination in the Colorado stockpile.
  • In the month of March, the main plant processed nearly 8,300 munitions.

SDC Update:

  • More than 6,000 mortar rounds were processed through the SDC complex in March, marking the best month ever for the three units.
  • The SDC units continue to process 4.2-inch HD mortars at 75% capacity.

Closure-Related Activities:

  • The plant is addressing Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment comments on the closure plan. Training has begun on the high-tech equipment that will be used to safely demolish the buildings and equipment that demilitarized munitions and destroyed chemical agent. A job fair has also been scheduled for the end of April to support workforce transition efforts.
  • To assist workers with planning the next steps for their careers when their jobs are complete at PCAPP, the Pueblo Workforce Center is hosting Transition Help Tuesdays every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Breckenridge Conference Room for one-on-one sessions with employees, providing guidance and information for employment transition, including resume review, workshops, access to LinkedIn Learning and career coaching programming.

Upcoming Meetings

The April Colorado Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission (CAC) meeting will be held on April 26 in Avondale at the McHarg Park Community Center, 405 Second Street, starting at 6 p.m. MDT. The meeting will be hybrid – both in person and online.

Individuals interested in joining online may participate using the link and information below.

To join by computer:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84432791550
To join by phone, call: 1 (719) 359-4580

Meeting ID:  844 3279 1550#

New to PCAPP?

PCAPP is a facility built to destroy the chemical weapons stockpile stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado. The main plant uses neutralization followed by biotreatment and is supplemented by Static Detonation Chamber units in destroying 4.2-inch mortar rounds. The safety of the workforce, neighboring communities and the environment is the project’s priority.

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