Facts: Operation Swift Solution

Obsolete Containers, Waste Eliminated

The Program Executive Office (formerly U.S. Army Element), Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) program initiated Operation Swift Solution in November 2007 to safely eliminate three deteriorating steel containers and wastes associated with the management of these containers that were stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD). These steel containers were commonly referred to as “ton containers.”

The steel containers held a mixture of chemical agent GB and its breakdown products that had occurred over time. One of the containers had leaked in the past and the other containers were showing signs of corrosion. For health and safety reasons and to prevent leaks and/or releases, Operation Swift Solution was initiated to eliminate the risks associated with the long-term storage of the containers.

ACWA coordinated the effort with the following partners: BGAD, Blue Grass Chemical Activity, U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity (formerly Agency), U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (formerly Edgewood Chemical Biological Center), Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (KDEP) and local stakeholders.

Destruction began in November 2008 and progressed through three phases:

  1. Draining and neutralization of all liquid agent from the containers.
  2. Removal and neutralization of sludge, rust, and other solids that formed over time inside the containers.
  3. Treatment, packaging and monitoring of all solid and liquid waste. All generated waste was shipped to a permitted commercial treatment facility. A total of 1,000 gallons of GB hydrolysate was shipped from Kentucky to Veolia North America facility near Port Arthur, Texas.

After completion of Phase 3, the operational facilities were shut down and dismantled and the structures and equipment were returned to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, in April 2009. Project personnel performed a closure certification with KDEP following the operation.

The Operation Swift Solution site at the Blue Grass Chemical Activity on the Blue Grass Army Depot.
The Operation Swift Solution site at the Blue Grass Chemical Activity on the Blue Grass Army Depot.
A technician observes as team members neutralize GB agent and its waste breakdown products in the Chemical Agent Transfer System during Operation Swift Solution at the Blue Grass Army Depot.
A technician observes as team members neutralize GB agent and its waste breakdown products in the Chemical Agent Transfer System during Operation Swift Solution at the Blue Grass Army Depot.
An operator monitors the Operation Swift Solution destruction process from the control trailer on the Blue Grass Army Depot.
An operator monitors the Operation Swift Solution destruction process from the control trailer on the Blue Grass Army Depot.
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