The Pueblo plant team is seeking approval from Colorado regulators to begin a campaign to destroy munitions that were rejected from destruction in the main plant due to worker safety and other issues.
A draft permit that will allow operation of Static Detonation Chamber units at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant is open for public comment through Sept. 13.
“We’ve submitted a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act permit modification request to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that, upon approval, would allow for operation and the first phase of trial burns on the Static Detonation Chamber units,” said Mike Saupe, environmental manager, Bechtel Pueblo Team.
The three units, each consisting of two major components – the detonation chamber and the off-gas treatment system – will augment the main plant by destroying 4.2-inch mortar rounds containing mustard agent.
In addition to state permit approval, Pueblo County regulators must also provide approval, Saupe said. Upon approval of the permit modification request, trial burns can begin.
Trial burns comprise a testing period divided into two phases. Phase one consists of a surrogate trial burn using non-agent chemicals and conventional ammunitions.
“Upon the end of the public comment period, CDPHE regulators will address any comments they receive,” Saupe said. “Trial burns could begin within 30 days upon the issuance of the final permit, however public comments could delay that.”
The environmental documents and information on how to comment is available on the CDPHE website at https://cdphe.colorado.gov/HMWMD-public-notices. Comments will be accepted through Sept. 13.