PEO ACWA Chemical Weapons Destruction Program Timeline

2023

CDC Celebrates Elimination of Entire Declared U.S. Chemical Weapons Stockpile

Greg St. Pierre, director of Compliance, and Timothy Garrett, director of Field Operations, attended and spoke on behalf of PEO ACWA at the Jan. 23 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) event celebrating 40 years of its chemical demilitarization program. The Blue Grass and Pueblo plants and PEO ACWA comply with numerous safety standards put in place by the CDC to protect the workforce, public and environment.

Greg St. Pierre, director of Compliance, speaks on behalf of PEO ACWA at the Jan. 23 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention event celebrating 40 years of its chemical demilitarization program.
Greg St. Pierre, director of Compliance, speaks on behalf of PEO ACWA at the Jan. 23 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention event celebrating 40 years of its chemical demilitarization program.

Event Held to Mark the Destruction of the Declared U.S. Chemical Weapons Stockpile

On Dec. 13, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment hosted an event to recognize the complete destruction of the declared U.S. chemical weapons stockpile. International, federal and corporate dignitaries gathered to commemorate this decades-long undertaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Fernando Arias, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, speaks to the crowd at the End of U.S. Chemical Weapons Destruction Operations event in Washington, D.C., Dec. 13.
Ambassador Fernando Arias, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, speaks to the crowd at the End of U.S. Chemical Weapons Destruction Operations event in Washington, D.C., Dec. 13.

ACWA Announces Acting Program Executive Officer

Ms. Tamika D. “Tami” Atkins, former Chief of Staff at the Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program, became acting Program Executive Officer upon the Nov. 24, 2023, retirement of Mr. Michael S. Abaie, who served as Program Executive Office since 2018.

Ms. Tamika D. “Tami” Atkins, interim Program Executive Officer, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives
Ms. Tamika D. “Tami” Atkins, acting Program Executive Officer, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives

Static Detonation Chamber 1200 Begins Operations at Blue Grass Plant

On Oct. 25, the Static Detonation Chamber (SDC) 1200 destroyed the first containerized rocket warheads that had been previously drained of VX nerve agent in the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. The SDC 1200 and the larger SDC 2000 will destroy agent-contaminated secondary waste during the plant’s closure phase.

A robot loads the first drained, containerized rocket warhead containing VX nerve agent residue into a box to be conveyed into the Static Detonation Chamber 1200 for destruction as agent-contaminated secondary waste during the closure phase at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Oct. 25.
A robot loads the first drained, containerized rocket warhead containing VX nerve agent residue into a box to be conveyed into the Static Detonation Chamber 1200 for destruction as agent-contaminated secondary waste during the closure phase at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Oct. 25.

Honoring Our Commitment: U.S. Chemical Weapons Stockpile Destruction Complete in Kentucky

On Oct. 11, the Blue Grass plant workforce marked the end of destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile previously stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky with a commemorative event open to the public.

Michael Abaie, program executive officer, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, addresses nearly 400 people who gathered for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant End of Destruction Operations event at the Armed Forces Reserve Center near Richmond, Kentucky, Oct. 11.
Michael Abaie, program executive officer, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, addresses the approximately 400 people who gathered for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant End of Destruction Operations event at the Armed Forces Reserve Center near Richmond, Kentucky, Oct. 11.

Honoring Our Commitment: U.S. Chemical Weapons Stockpile Destruction Complete in Colorado

On Aug. 30, the Pueblo plant workforce marked the end of destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile previously stored in Pueblo, Colorado, with a commemorative event open to the public.

Streamers and confetti fly at the conclusion of the event celebrating the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile in Pueblo, Colorado. More than 650 people attended the public event at the Pueblo Convention Center Aug. 30.
Streamers and confetti fly at the conclusion of the event celebrating the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile in Pueblo, Colorado. More than 650 people attended the public event at the Pueblo Convention Center Aug. 30.

Last Treaty Sample Collected, Analyzed at Blue Grass Plant

On July 24, an inspector from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons observed the last sample of hydrolysate collected and analyzed in the Blue Grass main plant, marking another step in the fulfillment of Chemical Weapons Convention treaty obligations.

An inspector from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons watches as a technician from the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant collects the last hydrolysate sample from a glove box in the Munitions Demilitarization Building.
An inspector from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons watches as a technician from the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant collects the last hydrolysate sample from a glove box in the Munitions Demilitarization Building.

Last Chemical Weapon Destroyed at Blue Grass Army Depot

On July 7, the Blue Grass plant workforce destroyed the last chemical weapon in the declared U.S. chemical weapons stockpile, an M55 rocket containing GB nerve agent.

Operators pose with the last GB nerve agent rocket as it is loaded for destruction at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant July 7, 2023. The destruction of this munition marked the completion of destruction of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile.
Operators pose with the last GB nerve agent rocket as it is loaded for destruction at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant July 7, 2023. The destruction of this munition marked the completion of destruction of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile.

Pueblo Plant Completes Destruction of Chemical Weapons Stockpile in Colorado

On June 22, the Pueblo plant workforce destroyed the final 155mm projectile in the chemical weapons stockpile at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot, Colorado. Between March 2015 and June 2023, the Pueblo team destroyed more than 780,000 munitions containing 2,613 U.S. tons of mustard agent.

A camera at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant captures the final munition in the chemical weapons stockpile stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot, Colorado, as it moves toward destruction on June 22.
A camera at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant captures the final munition in the chemical weapons stockpile stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot, Colorado, as it moves toward destruction on June 22.

Pueblo Plant Completes Destruction of 4.2-inch HT Mustard Agent Mortar Rounds

The Pueblo plant workforce safely destroyed the final 4.2-inch mortar rounds filled with HT mustard agent on March 30, leaving 4.2-inch HD mortar rounds as the last munition category requiring elimination at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado.

The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant’s D Crew displays a milestone banner for completion of 4.2-inch HT mortar round destruction. The crew saw the last HT round go through the Projectile/Mortar Disassembly system March 21 on its way to the Agent Processing Building for final destruction.
The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant’s D Crew displays a milestone banner for completion of 4.2-inch HT mortar round destruction. The crew saw the last HT round go through the Projectile/Mortar Disassembly system March 21 on its way to the Agent Processing Building for final destruction.

Static Detonation Chamber 2000 Begins Operations at Blue Grass Plant

On Jan. 27, 2023, operators at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant began destroying containerized rocket warheads drained of GB nerve agent using the Static Detonation Chamber 2000.

The first boxes of containerized, drained GB nerve-agent rocket warheads sit on a conveyor to be processed in the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Static Detonation Chamber (SDC) 2000 Jan. 27. The SDC 2000 is being used to destroy secondary waste, overpacked M55 rockets, M55 rockets deemed unsuitable for processing in the main plant and undrained rocket warheads.
The first boxes of containerized, drained GB nerve-agent rocket warheads sit on a conveyor to be processed in the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Static Detonation Chamber (SDC) 2000 Jan. 27. The SDC 2000 is being used to destroy secondary waste, overpacked M55 rockets, M55 rockets deemed unsuitable for processing in the main plant and undrained rocket warheads.

2022

Pueblo Plant Begins New Phase of Last Campaign

On Dec. 1, 2022, Pueblo crews began using improved technology to destroy 4.2-inch mortar rounds in the main plant.

A PCAPP crew assesses a pallet of 4.2-inch mortar rounds as part of the start of the second phase of the final campaign in the elimination of the Colorado Chemical weapons stockpile, which began on Dec. 1 using improved technology.
A PCAPP crew assesses a pallet of 4.2-inch mortar rounds as part of the start of the second phase of the final campaign in the elimination of the Colorado Chemical weapons stockpile, which began on Dec. 1 using improved technology.

Blue Grass Plant Destroys Half of Chemical Agent Stockpile

As of Sept. 9, 2022, the Blue Grass team destroyed 50% of the chemical agent originally stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot during its fifth and final destruction campaign.

An operator smiles as he prepares to move a cart of GB nerve agent M55 rockets in the Unpack Area of the Munitions Demilitarization Building prior to their being placed into the destruction process.

Pueblo Plant Completes 105mm Projectile Campaign

On July 20, 2022, the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant team completed the destruction of more than 383,000 mustard agent-filled 105mm projectiles, the second of three campaigns undertaken since chemical weapons elimination began at PCAPP.

A Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant ordnance technician uses a lift assist to transfer a 105mm projectile onto a conveyor belt for its destruction in summer 2021. Conveyors transport munitions into Explosive Containment Rooms, where energetics are removed before chemical agent is drained and neutralized.

Blue Grass Plant Begins GB Nerve Agent M55 Rocket Campaign

On July 6, 2022, the first M55 rocket containing GB nerve agent was destroyed at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.

Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant operators place the first M55 rocket containing GB nerve agent on a conveyor to begin the destruction process July 6. This marks the beginning of the final destruction campaign at the Blue Grass Army Depot.

All VX Nerve Agent Weapons Eliminated from U.S. Stockpile

On April 19, 2022, the Blue Grass team completed the destruction of all VX nerve agent M55 rockets, marking the total elimination of all VX nerve agent weapons in the U.S. stockpile.

Operators move M55 rockets containing VX nerve agent from a pallet to a transfer cart to begin the destruction process at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant April 15, 2022.

Pueblo Static Detonation Chamber Units Operational

On Feb. 19, 2022, the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant destroyed the first mustard 4.2-inch mortar round in Unit 2 of the Static Detonation Chamber complex.

A Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant ordnance technician holds the first 4.2-inch mortar round to be processed in the Static Detonation Chamber.

ACWA Destroys 75% of Agent Stockpile

On Jan. 14, 2022, PEO ACWA marked 75% destruction of the original chemical agent located in Colorado and Kentucky, with the safe elimination of 2,352 U.S. tons of chemical agent.

Operators lift the last palletized 155mm projectile containing VX nerve agent to place it in a tray to begin the destruction process at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in May 2021.
Operators lift the last palletized 155mm projectile containing VX nerve agent to place it in a tray to begin the destruction process at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in May 2021.

2021

Blue Grass Plant Destruction Milestone

On Nov. 1, 2021, the first boxes of non-contaminated rocket motors were transported via truck from the Blue Grass Army Depot and safely arrived Nov. 2 at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama to be destroyed in a Static Detonation Chamber.

A spotter guides a telehandler operator on the Blue Grass Army Depot in placing a crate of non-contaminated rocket motors on a flatbed truck for shipment to Alabama. The motors will be destroyed in a Static Detonation Chamber unit at the Anniston Army Depot.
A spotter guides a telehandler operator on the Blue Grass Army Depot in placing a crate of non-contaminated rocket motors on a flatbed truck for shipment to Alabama. The motors will be destroyed in a Static Detonation Chamber unit at the Anniston Army Depot.

Blue Grass Plant Destruction Milestone

On Oct. 8, 2021, the first shipment of hydrolysate, the product of neutralization of nerve agent drained from chemical weapons stored on the Blue Grass Army Depot, was received at Veolia Environmental Services near Port Arthur, Texas. The hydrolysate will be treated by a standard industrial hazardous waste incineration process at this permitted treatment, storage and disposal facility.

A worker gives a thumbs-up as he signals a connection is complete on a tanker truck receiving the first load of VX hydrolysate for shipment at the Tanker Loading Station at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. Hydrolysate, a product of the nerve-agent neutralization process, is being shipped to Veolia Environmental Services near Port Arthur, Texas, for destruction.
A worker gives a thumbs-up as he signals a connection is complete on a tanker truck receiving the first load of VX hydrolysate for shipment at the Tanker Loading Station at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. Hydrolysate, a product of the nerve-agent neutralization process, is being shipped to Veolia Environmental Services near Port Arthur, Texas, for destruction.

Pueblo Plant Destruction Milestone

As of Sept. 15, 2021, the Pueblo plant has destroyed more than 50% of the 105mm munitions originally stored at the Pueblo Chemical Depot.

Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant ordnance technicians and plant management personnel hold a sign recognizing the destruction of 50% of the 105mm mustard projectiles stored at the Pueblo Chemical Depot.
Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant ordnance technicians and plant management personnel hold a sign recognizing the destruction of 50% of the 105mm mustard projectiles stored at the Pueblo Chemical Depot.

Blue Grass Plant Destruction Milestone

On Sept. 4, 2021, the Blue Grass team completed the destruction of all 155mm mustard agent projectiles and two Department of Transportation bottles, marking the end of all mustard munitions and projectiles in the stockpile in Kentucky.

A munitions handler places a 155mm projectile containing mustard agent into a box to begin the destruction process in the Static Detonation Chamber at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. (A portion of this photograph has been blurred in accordance with Department of Defense guidelines.)
A munitions handler places a 155mm projectile containing mustard agent into a box to begin the destruction process in the Static Detonation Chamber at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. (A portion of this photograph has been blurred in accordance with Department of Defense guidelines.)

Blue Grass Plant Destruction Milestone

On July 9, 2021, the first M55 rockets containing VX nerve agent were destroyed at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.

Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant operators place the first M55 rockets containing VX nerve agent on a conveyor to begin the destruction process July 9. This marks the fourth of five destruction campaigns to begin at the Blue Grass Army Depot. (A portion of this photo has been blurred in accordance with Department of Defense guidelines.)
Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant operators place the first M55 rockets containing VX nerve agent on a conveyor to begin the destruction process July 9. This marks the fourth of five destruction campaigns to begin at the Blue Grass Army Depot. (A portion of this photo has been blurred in accordance with Department of Defense guidelines.)

Pueblo Plant Destruction Milestone

On June 30, 2021,the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant marked the safe elimination of approximately three-quarters of the original chemical agent stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot.

A Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant ordnance technician uses a lift assist to transfer a 105mm projectile onto a conveyor in February 2021.
A Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant ordnance technician uses a lift assist to transfer a 105mm projectile onto a conveyor in February 2021.


Blue Grass Plant Destruction Milestone

On May 28, 2021, the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant team completed the destruction of all 155mm projectiles containing VX nerve agent.

Operators place a 155mm projectile containing VX nerve agent in a tray to begin the destruction process at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. A portion of this photograph has been blurred in accordance with Department of Defense guidelines.
Operators place a 155mm projectile containing VX nerve agent in a tray to begin the destruction process at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. A portion of this photograph has been blurred in accordance with Department of Defense guidelines.

Pueblo Plant Destruction Milestone

On April 26, 2021, the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant reached 50% destruction of mustard-agent projectiles stored for more than a half-century at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot.

Ordnance technicians, sign shop coordinator and plant manager pose for a photograph to acknowledge the munition that marks the half-way mark of munitions destruction at PCAPP.
Ordnance technicians, sign shop coordinator and plant manager pose for a photograph to acknowledge the munition that marks the half-way mark of munitions destruction at PCAPP.

Blue Grass Plant Destruction Milestone

On April 25, 2021, the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant officially reached 25% destruction of the original 523 tons of chemical agent stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot.

An operator uses a forklift to move 155mm projectiles containing VX nerve agent to begin the destruction process at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant April 7. (A portion of this photograph has been blurred in accordance with Department of Defense guidelines.)
An operator uses a forklift to move 155mm projectiles containing VX nerve agent to begin the destruction process at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant April 7. (A portion of this photograph has been blurred in accordance with Department of Defense guidelines.)

Blue Grass Plant Destruction Milestone

On Feb. 9, 2021, the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program executive officer, after considering three technologies: biotreatment, deep-well injection and incineration, recommended nerve-agent hydrolysate generated at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Plant be treated using incineration. Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass announced the selection of Veolia Environmental Services in Port Arthur, Texas, for final destruction of the hydrolysate.

A tanker sits in the hydrolysate tanker loading station at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.
A tanker sits in the hydrolysate tanker loading station at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.

Blue Grass Plant Begins VX Nerve Agent Campaign

On Jan. 10, 2021, the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant began destroying 155mm projectiles containing VX nerve agent.

Two Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant operators work together to remove banding from a 155mm projectile containing VX nerve agent before placing the munition in a tray to begin the destruction process Jan. 8. The first VX 155mm projectiles were destroyed Jan. 10, marking the start of the third of five chemical weapons destruction campaigns at the Blue Grass Army Depot. (A portion of this photograph has been blurred in accordance with Department of Defense guidelines.)
Two Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant operators work together to remove banding from a 155mm projectile containing VX nerve agent before placing the munition in a tray to begin the destruction process Jan. 8. The first VX 155mm projectiles were destroyed Jan. 10, marking the start of the third of five chemical weapons destruction campaigns at the Blue Grass Army Depot. (A portion of this photograph has been blurred in accordance with Department of Defense guidelines.)

2020

Pueblo Plant Begins Second Destruction Campaign

As of Dec. 11, 2020, the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant began its second destruction campaign with the 105mm projectiles stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot.

Workers from the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant use a Munitions Handling Lift Assist to handle projectiles from a pallet of 105mm munitions as the plant’s 105mm munitions destruction campaign got underway Dec. 11.
Workers from the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant use a Munitions Handling Lift Assist to handle projectiles from a pallet of 105mm munitions as the plant’s 105mm munitions destruction campaign got underway Dec. 11.


Blue Grass Technology Update

The Rocket Warhead Containerization System that was installed in a new off-site training center in September is now being used to train workers. This equipment will package drained rocket warheads for safe storage before their destruction in one of the site’s two Static Detonation Chamber units. Operators, maintenance personnel and engineers are currently being trained on the system as similar equipment is being installed in the plant.

Technicians observe and take notes during site acceptance testing of new rocket processing equipment at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant’s new off-site training facility in September.
Technicians observe and take notes during site acceptance testing of new rocket processing equipment at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant’s new off-site training facility in September.

Blue Grass Secondary System Update

As of Sept. 10, 2020, the Blue Grass supercritical water oxidation system (SCWO), originally intended for treatment of a specific plant secondary waste, will no longer be used. The decision was made to not use the SCWO system to process plant wastewater due to multiple issues discovered during testing that raised reliability concerns. Chemical weapons will continue to be destroyed at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant using neutralization or an explosive destruction technology.

A worker helps prepare one of the supercritical water oxidation reactors for installation at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in 2013.
A worker helps prepare one of the supercritical water oxidation reactors for installation at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in 2013.

Pueblo Plant Completes First Destruction Campaign

As of Sept. 5, 2020, the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant team completed the destruction of 300,000 155mm projectiles stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot, marking the end of the main plant’s first munitions campaign.

A Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant ordnance technician prepares to transfer the final 155mm projectile for destruction on Sept. 5. The munition goes into the Munitions Washout System where agent is gravity drained before it is neutralized.
A Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant ordnance technician prepares to transfer the final 155mm projectile for destruction on Sept. 5. The munition goes into the Munitions Washout System where agent is gravity drained before it is neutralized.


Blue Grass Plant Destruction Milestone

On Sept. 1, 2020, 50% of the mustard agent in the stockpile of chemical weapons stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky has been destroyed.

A munitions handler marks a box containing mustard agent-filled projectiles prior to destruction in the Explosive Destruction Technology facility at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.
A munitions handler marks a box containing mustard agent-filled projectiles prior to destruction in the Explosive Destruction Technology facility at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.


Pueblo Plant Static Detonation Chamber Assembly Complete

Workers completed the assembly of the three Static Detonation Chamber units at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in July.

The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant’s three Static Detonation Chamber units are now completely assembled.
The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant’s three Static Detonation Chamber units are now completely assembled.


Pueblo Plant Baseline Reconfiguration Complete

The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant completed baseline reconfiguration of 4.2-inch mortar rounds containing mustard agent June 23, 2020.

A Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant ordnance technician and baseline reconfiguration team member remove the rear assembly from a 4.2-inch mortar round. The plant has completed this campaign and the rounds will be destroyed in Static Detonation Chamber units.
A Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant ordnance technician and baseline reconfiguration team member remove the rear assembly from a 4.2-inch mortar round. The plant has completed this campaign and the rounds will be destroyed in Static Detonation Chamber units.


Blue Grass Plant Completes First Munitions Campaign

On May 11, 2020, the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant destroyed all 8-inch projectiles containing GB nerve agent. This marks completion of the first munitions campaign for the project.

Two operators work together to place one of the last overpacked 8-inch projectiles containing nerve agent into a tray to begin the destruction process at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant May 9. The last GB 8-inch projectile was destroyed May 11, marking the complete destruction of an entire type of chemical weapon.
Two operators work together to place one of the last overpacked 8-inch projectiles containing nerve agent into a tray to begin the destruction process at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant May 9. The last GB 8-inch projectile was destroyed May 11, marking the complete destruction of an entire type of chemical weapon.


Pueblo Plant Destruction Milestone

As of Feb. 26, 2020, the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant destroyed more than half the mustard agent in obsolete chemical munitions stored for more than a half-century at the U.S. Army’s Pueblo Chemical Depot.

An ordnance technician at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant handles 155mm projectiles containing mustard agent for processing.
An ordnance technician at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant handles 155mm projectiles containing mustard agent for processing.


Blue Grass Main Plant Begins Operations

On Jan. 17, 2020, operations to destroy nerve-agent munitions began at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. The first 8-inch projectiles filled with GB nerve agent were destroyed in the main plant.

Blue Grass Main Plant Begins Operations

2019

Pueblo Plant Destruction Milestone

As of Oct. 2, 2019, the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant has destroyed more than 1,000 U.S. tons of mustard agent in the chemical weapons stockpile stored in Colorado.

A worker at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant places 105mm projectiles that have been unboxed and reconfigured for processing on a pallet using a motorized lift assist.
A worker at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant places 105mm projectiles that have been unboxed and reconfigured for processing on a pallet using a motorized lift assist.

Pueblo Plant Destruction Progress

As of July 31, 2019, the Pueblo plant has destroyed more than 50% of the 155mm munitions originally stored at the Pueblo Chemical Depot.

Inside an Explosive Containment Room at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, a 155mm projectile containing mustard agent sits at a station before it is disassembled.
Inside an Explosive Containment Room at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, a 155mm projectile containing mustard agent sits at a station before it is disassembled.


Pueblo Plant Starts Operations

As of July 17, 2019, the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant is considered a fully operational facility after reaching milestones that mark the end of pilot testing.

Inside the Agent Processing Building of the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, an ordnance technician stands watch as another uses a munitions handling lift assist unit to place disassembled 155mm projectiles onto a conveyor for neutralization processing. The Pueblo plant has entered into its operations phase after successfully completing a lengthy pilot testing period.
Inside the Agent Processing Building of the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, an ordnance technician stands watch as another uses a munitions handling lift assist unit to place disassembled 155mm projectiles onto a conveyor for neutralization processing. The Pueblo plant has entered into its operations phase after successfully completing a lengthy pilot testing period.


Blue Grass Start of Agent Operations

On June 7, 2019, the start of operations occurred at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. This commenced the destruction of mustard agent-filled munitions by the Static Detonation Chamber in Kentucky.

Munitions handlers place the first 155mm mustard-agent filled projectile slated for destruction into a feed box June 7. The projectile was automatically fed into the Static Detonation Chamber at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant and destroyed the same day. (Image taken from closed-circuit television.)
Munitions handlers place the first 155mm mustard-agent filled projectile slated for destruction into a feed box June 7. The projectile was automatically fed into the Static Detonation Chamber at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant and destroyed the same day. (Image taken from closed-circuit television.)


Pueblo Plant Destruction Milestone

As of April 1, 2019, the Pueblo plant has destroyed 25% of the mustard agent stockpile stored at the Pueblo Chemical Depot.

A pallett of 155mm projectiles.
A pallett of 155mm projectiles.

2018

Explosive Destruction System Completed Final Campaign

On Dec. 5, 2018, the Pueblo plant Explosive Destruction System completed its second and final campaign.

The final munitions of the second Explosive Destruction System campaign at Pueblo Chemical Depot, Colorado destroyed on Dec. 5, 2018.
The final munitions of the second Explosive Destruction System campaign at Pueblo Chemical Depot, Colorado destroyed on Dec. 5, 2018.


Site Receives Voluntary Protection Programs Recognition

In December 2018, the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant earns recertification of Star Status in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Volunteer Protection Programs.

VPP Voluntary Protection Programs An Osha Cooperative Program
Paste caption and italicize

ACWA Announces New Program Executive Officer

Mr. Michael S. Abaie assumes Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program leadership as Program Executive Officer on Sept. 10, 2018.

Mr. Michael S. Abaie, Program Executive Officer, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives
Mr. Michael S. Abaie, Program Executive Officer, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives

Pueblo Plant Baseline Reconfiguration Milestone

Pueblo plant ordnance technicians complete first round of baseline reconfiguration on Feb. 15, 2018.

An ordnance technician poses with the final 105mm projectile fed for baseline reconfiguration at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.
An ordnance technician poses with the final 105mm projectile fed for baseline reconfiguration at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.

2017

ACWA Announces New Program Executive Officer

Ms. Suzanne S. Milchling assumes Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program leadership as Program Executive Officer on June 25, 2017.

Ms. Suzanne S. Milchling, Program Executive Officer, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives
Ms. Suzanne S. Milchling, Program Executive Officer, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives

Systemization of Blue Grass-Specific Equipment Begins

Systemization activities begin on Blue Grass-Specific Equipment, including the Energetics Batch Hydrolyzers and Rocket Shear Machines.

A Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant technician observes the rotation of one of the Energetics Batch Hydrolyzer drums during testing.
A Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant technician observes the rotation of one of the Energetics Batch Hydrolyzer drums during testing.

2016

Static Detonation Chamber Assembled

The Static Detonation Chamber, the Explosive Destruction Technology chosen to destroy Kentucky’s mustard agent stockpile, was assembled and installed in early 2016. The SDC was placed in lay-up temporarily in December 2016 to focus resources on the completion of main plant systemization. Upon receiving supplemental funding in July 2017, pre-systemization activities of the SDC commenced.

The Blue Grass Static Detonation will destroy the mustard munitions in the Kentucky chemical weapons stockpile.
The Blue Grass Static Detonation will destroy the mustard munitions in the Kentucky chemical weapons stockpile.

Pueblo Plant Starts Pilot Testing

On Sept. 7, 2016, the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant starts the Pilot Testing phase, which is the gradual destruction of agent-filled munitions into the system. This phase will continue until plant managers and the state health department are satisfied all systems are working properly and the plant and workforce is ready to bring the plant up to its designed operational capacity.

Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant ordnance technicians and project leadership pose for a picture just before the first munition was processed through the plant. The pilot testing phase of operations began on Sept. 7.
Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant ordnance technicians and project leadership pose for a picture just before the first munition was processed through the plant. The pilot testing phase of operations began on Sept. 7.

Explosive Destruction System Completes First Campaign

On Feb. 11, 2016, the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Explosive Destructive System successfully completes its first campaign, eliminating 265 105mm projectiles, 196 155mm projectiles, 88 4.2-inch mortar rounds and 11 Department of Transportation bottles for a total of 560 items containing mustard agent.

Video: Colorado System Completes First Step in Munition Elimination

2015

Blue Grass Construction is Complete

On Oct. 28, 2015, the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant officially declares main facility construction complete.

Video: Blue Grass Plant Marks End of Construction

Static Detonation Chamber Arrives at Blue Grass

The Static Detonation Chamber, the explosive destruction technology chosen to destroy Kentucky’s mustard agent stockpile, arrives at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in August 2015.

Components of the Static Detonation Chamber (SDC) arrive at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant on Aug. 13, 2015. The SDC is the Explosive Destruction Technology selected to augment the main plant by destroying the mustard projectiles.
Components of the Static Detonation Chamber (SDC) arrive at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant on Aug. 13, 2015. The SDC is the Explosive Destruction Technology selected to augment the main plant by destroying the mustard projectiles.

Chemical Stockpile Destruction Begins in Colorado

Chemical stockpile destruction in Colorado was initiated on March 18, 2015 by the Explosive Destruction System, located on the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot near the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. This event marks the first step towards eliminating the final 10 percent of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile.

Video: PCAPP Explosive Destruction System: The First Step in Eliminating Munitions

ACWA Sites Achieve Safety Recertification

Bechtel Pueblo and Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass teams earn recertification of Star Status in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program.

Video: PCAPP Safety: Written in the Stars

2014

Pueblo Plant Starts Construction of the Explosive Destruction System

Construction begins on the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Explosive Destruction System (EDS) site, located at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot. The first of two EDS units arrive on site, aligning with the completion of specially-designed environmental enclosures that will house the EDS units for added protection.

View of construction progress at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant's Explosive Destruction System site.
View of construction progress at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant’s Explosive Destruction System site.

PEO ACWA Anniston Field Office Established

The PEO ACWA Anniston Field Office is established in June 2014 to ensure that the technical expertise and experience of the staff at the former Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, as well as the facility’s Static Detonation Chamber, is preserved and available to be leveraged during chemical weapons destruction in Colorado and Kentucky.

Video: Anniston Experience Supports U.S. Chemical Weapons Destruction

Explosive Destruction Technology Facility Construction Begins at Blue Grass

The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant receives approval from the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection to begin initial construction activities of an Explosive Destruction Technology facility.

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2013

Explosive Destruction Technology Approvals and Progress

Pueblo: Program Executive Officer Conrad F. Whyne announced his selection of the U.S. Army’s Explosive Destruction System to augment the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in order to safely destroy chemical munitions unsuited for processing by the main plant’s automated equipment.
Blue Grass: To meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and Title 32 Code of Federal Regulations Part 651, ACWA, in conjunction with the Blue Grass Army Depot, completes an environmental assessment regarding the possible use of explosive destruction technologies, or EDT in Blue Grass. Following a public comment period, and review of the comments, it is concluded that no significant environmental impacts will occur due to the proposed installation and operation of an EDT. Subsequently, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass receives approval from PEO ACWA to begin initial work on an EDT system at the Blue Grass plant. Following a competitive procurement process, Bechtel Parsons selects the Static Detonation Chamber.

Video: Explosive Destruction System: How it Works
Video: Proven Technology to Fulfill Mission at Blue Grass

2012

Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Completes Construction

The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant officially declares construction complete on Dec. 12, 2012.

An aerial view of Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant
An aerial view of Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant

Pueblo Environmental Assessment Results in Finding of No Significant Impact

To meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and Title 32 Code of Federal Regulations Part 651, ACWA, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot, completes an environmental assessment regarding the possible use of an explosive destruction technology, or EDT in Pueblo. Following a public comment period, and review of the comments, it is concluded that no significant environmental impacts will occur due to the proposed installation and operation of an EDT.

Tom Schultz, PCAPP public affairs specialist, welcomed participants to the public meeting held in April 2012. Stakeholders attended the meeting to learn about the purpose and need for an Explosive Destruction Technology at the Pueblo plant.
Tom Schultz, PCAPP public affairs specialist, welcomed participants to the public meeting held in April 2012. Stakeholders attended the meeting to learn about the purpose and need for an Explosive Destruction Technology at the Pueblo plant.

ACWA Redesignated Program Executive Office

ACWA is redesignated Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, or PEO ACWA, and administratively reassigned to the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center. This transition is directed to increase the program’s visibility and obtain necessary support and resources. As mandated by law, the program’s direct reporting connection to the Department of Defense remains unchanged. Conrad F. Whyne assumes ACWA leadership as Program Executive Officer.

ACWA logo

2011

Blue Grass Completes First Building

The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant declares the Fire Water Pump House to be the first building at the facility to be complete and ready for operations.

The Fire Water Pump House provides fire suppression support and potable water for the Blue Grass plant.
The Fire Water Pump House provides fire suppression support and potable water for the Blue Grass plant.

Inert Training Munitions Arrive at PCAPP

The arrival of the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives Test Equipment, or ATE, at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant signifies a major milestone towards pilot plant operations as the ATE will be used for practice and training as part of systemizing the facility.

Pallets of inert training munitions, known formally as Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives Test Equipment or ATE.
Pallets of inert training munitions, known formally as Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives Test Equipment or ATE.

Department of Defense Certifies ACWA

The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics certifies the ACWA program to Congress under the Nunn-McCurdy Act. This certification is the result of a nearly six-month program review to determine the factors that led to the “critical” Nunn-McCurdy cost breach reported to Congress in December 2010. The Under Secretary subsequently directs ACWA to proceed with the program without any significant changes to the destruction technology.

Department of Defense logo

Sites Receive Voluntary Protection Program Recognition

Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass team receives Star Status and Bechtel Pueblo Team earns recertification of Star Status in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program.

VPP Voluntary Protection Program An OSHA Cooperative Program

2010

Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Design Complete

The Department of Defense accepts the final design for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.

Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Design Complete

Sites Start Systemization Phase

The systemization phase begins at Pueblo and Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plants. Construction teams turn over the first subsystems to the start-up groups for systemization testing and commissioning to begin to prepare the facilities for chemical weapons destruction operations.

Video: Systemization at the Pueblo and Blue Grass Chemical-Agent Destruction Pilot Plants

2009

Operation Swift Solution Completed

Operation Swift Solution, the Army initiative to eliminate three deteriorating steel containers storing a mixture of GB nerve agent and its decontamination breakdown products, concluded when two trucks holding the caustic wastewater, known as hydrolysate, generated during the neutralization process were received at Veolia Environmental Services, near Port Arthur, Texas. The United States received credit under the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty for chemical destruction when Operation Swift Solution was successfully completed.

Operation Swift Solution

Semi-Annual Report to Congress Clarifies On-site Treatment

Department of Defense’s May 2009 Semi-Annual Report to Congress clarified that on-site treatment and disposal of hydrolysate for both locations would continue unless unforeseen technical difficulties arise.

Hydrolysate, the product of agent neutralization, is stored in these tanks prior to processing in the Biotreatment Area at Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.
Hydrolysate, the product of agent neutralization, is stored in these tanks prior to processing in the Biotreatment Area at Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.

Bechtel Pueblo Team Receives Star Status

Bechtel Pueblo Team receives Star Status in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program.

Video: PCAPP and the Community Share in National Safety Award

2008

Pueblo Pilot Plant Receives Permit

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment grants Stage 3 Permit Modification to the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) Resource Conservation and Recovery Act permit, authorizing the Pueblo team to construct facilities used to store and treat munitions, chemical agent and secondary wastes.

Detail of 2008 Pueblo permitting process poster.
Detail of 2008 Pueblo permitting process poster. Click to view larger.

Operation Swift Solution Starts at Blue Grass

Operation Swift Solution, the effort 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, starts in Kentucky. The first phase is successfully completed, with all the liquid nerve agent mixture previously stored in the three deteriorating steel containers drained and neutralized.

A technology known as the Chemical Agent Transfer System was used to drain and neutralize the nerve agent mixture stored in three deteriorating steel containers during Operation Swift Solution.
A technology known as the Chemical Agent Transfer System was used to drain and neutralize the nerve agent mixture stored in three deteriorating steel containers during Operation Swift Solution.

2007

Department of Defense Certifies ACWA

The Department of Defense formally certifies ACWA to Congress under the provisions of Nunn-McCurdy. The Acquisition Program Baseline for the ACWA program is approved by the Department of Defense with a total program life-cycle cost of approximately $8 billion.

DoD

Final PCAPP Design Accepted

The Department of Defense accepts the final design for the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.

Final PCAPP Design Accepted

ACWA Activated as U.S. Army Element

ACWA is activated as U.S. Army Element, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, a separate reporting activity under U.S. Army Materiel Command. Under this arrangement, ACWA receives administrative and logistics support from Army Materiel Command, but the ACWA program manager continues to report directly to the Department of Defense. Kevin J. Flamm is named program manager.

U.S. Army Element, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives

2006

BGCAPP Commemorates Groundbreaking

The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant conducts a groundbreaking ceremony in October 2006.

The groundbreaking ceremony takes place at Blue Grass Army Depot at the future site of the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.
The groundbreaking ceremony takes place at Blue Grass Army Depot at the future site of the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.

2005

ACWA Delivers Redesign Options for Pueblo and Blue Grass

The Department of Defense directs ACWA to redesign the Pueblo and Blue Grass projects to better balance cost and schedule objectives. ACWA presents design options to senior Department of Defense officials who authorize the resumption of design work.

The Department of Defense directs ACWA to redesign the Pueblo and Blue Grass projects to better balance cost and schedule objectives. ACWA presents design options to senior Department of Defense officials who authorize the resumption of design work.

2004

Pueblo Site Work Begins

Following the issuance of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act permit by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as well as the Certificate of Designation by Pueblo County, Pueblo site civil work begins.

Site civil work begins at the the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.
Site civil work begins at the the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.

PCAPP Celebrates Groundbreaking

A Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Groundbreaking Open House is held in 2004 to celebrate Stage One construction and honor thousands of former and current employees of the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot.

Dignitaries, community members and the workforce celebrate the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Groundbreaking.
Dignitaries, community members and the workforce celebrate the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Groundbreaking.

2003

Neutralization Followed by Supercritical Water Oxidation Chosen to Destroy Kentucky Stockpile

The Department of Defense approves neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation as the official destruction method for the Kentucky chemical weapons stockpile.

Video: What is Supercritical Fluid?

Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass Team Awarded Blue Grass Contract

The Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass Team is awarded a contract to design, construct, pilot test, operate and close the Blue Grass pilot plant.

Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass Team Awarded Blue Grass Contract

ACWA Name Changed

ACWA’s name is changed to Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives to reflect the change from assessment program to implementation program.

ACWA’s name is changed to Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives to reflect the change from assessment program to implementation program.

2002

ACWA Assigned Responsibility for Destruction of Kentucky and Colorado Stockpiles

Public Law 107-248 assigns ACWA responsibility for destruction of the chemical weapons stored in Kentucky and Colorado if alternative technologies are chosen.

ACWA Assigned Responsibility for Destruction of Kentucky and Colorado Stockpiles

Bechtel Pueblo Team Awarded Pueblo Contract

The Bechtel Pueblo Team is awarded a contract to design, construct, pilot test, operate and close the Pueblo pilot plant.

Bechtel Pueblo Team Awarded Pueblo Contract

Neutralization Followed by Biotreatment Chosen to Destroy Colorado Stockpile

The Department of Defense approves neutralization followed by biotreatment as the official destruction method for the Colorado stockpile.

Video: PCAPP Overview

1996-2000

ACWA Established

Public Law 104-208 establishes the Assembled Chemical Weapons Assessment, or ACWA, program and provides funding to identify and demonstrate alternatives to incineration for the destruction of assembled chemical weapons.

Video: ACWA Overview
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