Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Monthly Recap – January 2024

Current Project Phase:
Transition to Closure

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

On June 22, 2023, the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) completed destruction of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD) in Colorado, which consisted of 780,089 chemical weapons containing mustard agent. The Colorado stockpile included three munition types: 155mm and 105mm projectiles and 4.2-inch mortar rounds.


Project Update:

  • A team from the Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives accepted the “David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award,” one of the highest honors among military programs, during the Defense Acquisition Workforce 2023 Awards held Jan. 24 in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The Defense Acquisition University cited the ACWA program team for “…leadership and demonstrating the acquisition management and technical skills to implement measures that reduced schedule risk, while maintaining worker safety and enabling the United States to complete the destruction of the remaining chemical weapons stockpile by the Chemical Weapons Convention commitment deadline.”
  • Workers and technicians at PCAPP and the sister Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant at Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky were selected as the 2023 Arms Control Persons of the Year by the Arms Control Association through a recent online contest that engaged thousands of participants from dozens of countries. The workers and technicians were nominated for their successful and safe completion of eliminating the last vestiges of the United States stockpile of lethal chemical munitions as required by the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.
  • The Department of the Army Inspector General visited PCAPP Jan. 22-24 to assess its safety culture and compliance with applicable regulations.
  • Representatives from the Defense Logistics Agency visited PCAPP on Jan. 25 to gather information and photographs for an upcoming article on the disposal of inert training munitions.

Main Plant:

  • The plant is awaiting resolution of the most recent public comment period for the closure of the main plant, Permit Modification Request (PMR) B071, which ended Jan. 15, and submitted the most recent Notice of Deficiency responses to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) a week later on Jan. 22. The closure plan for the main plant remains under review.
  • The Pueblo plant medical team is studying on a new worker hydration testing system that could enhance workforce protection and save the plant money, effort and time. With the new system, test strips are automatically inserted into an all-in-one device and tapped on a worker’s tongue, taking seconds from test to result. Workers can opt not to participate in the study and continue with regular hydration testing, assessed by urine-specific gravity test and body weight change. The study will take approximately six to eight weeks.
  • The Pueblo plant workforce has begun to dismantle, decontaminate and package waste-specific systems that helped destroy the chemical weapons stockpile previously stored at PCD following approval by state regulators of a temporary authorization. Class 2 PMR B073, Equipment Disassembly and Containerization, allows PCAPP to disassemble some equipment and contain waste generated by this activity, including three Projectile/Mortar Disassembly systems and the three robot gripper assemblies; 10 Cavity Access Machines and the two robotic arms from the Munitions Washout System; and equipment/piping from the spent decontamination solution system.

Static Detonation Chamber (SDC):

  • The closure plan for the SDC complex (PMR B028) was submitted to CDPHE in December and remains under review. 
  • All three SDC units are offline with functioning ventilation as crews focus on detonation chamber enclosure and vessel cleaning across all units. The three SDC units will be transported to Alabama and Maryland for reuse after memorandums of understanding are signed with U.S. Army installations at each location. One SDC unit will go to the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, while the other two will go to the U.S. Army Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. PCAPP is awaiting the final signature on the memorandum with Redstone Arsenal.

Closure-related Activities:

  • The Pueblo Workforce Center continues to host Transition Help Tuesdays at PCAPP. One-on-one sessions are offered to employees, providing guidance and information for employment transition, including resume review, workshops, access to LinkedIn Learning and career coaching programming. Several interview and resume workshops were offered in January.

Upcoming Meetings

  • Walton Levi, site project manager, PCAPP, will provide a plant update as part of a PuebloPlex board meeting at noon MT on Feb. 8 at the District Attorney’s Office at 701 Court St., Pueblo.

  • The next Colorado Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission meeting will be online at 3 p.m. MT Feb. 28.

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

    Computer: Zoom
    Phone: 1 (719) 359-4580
    Meeting ID:  844 3279 1550#

New to PCAPP?

The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, or PCAPP, was built to destroy the chemical weapons stockpile formerly stored at PCD. This video portrays PCAPP operations prior to the June 22, 2023, completion of destruction of the stockpile in Colorado. The main plant used neutralization followed by biotreatment and was supplemented by Static Detonation Chamber units to destroy mustard agent munitions. With destruction operations complete, the safety of the workforce, neighboring communities and the environment during the closure phase remains the project’s priority.

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