Colorado Chemical Weapons Destruction: 2016 Year in Review


♪ (music) ♪>>Narrator: 2016 was a pinnacle year for the
Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, also known as PCAPP, as the team initiated
plant operations. More than 2,600 tons of chemical agent, contained
in mortars and projectiles, have been safely stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot
for more than half a century. In September, PCAPP entered its fourth project
phase: Pilot Testing. (loud machine) For the first time, technicians and robots
at the plant processed projectiles containing mustard agent. The culmination of months of rigorous tests
and practice runs with inert munitions. Pilot Testing must demonstrate all of the
plant’s systems and procedures work at this level as designed, paving the way for full-scale
operations to begin. More than 1,300 employees work at this first-of-a-kind
facility. Which, in the first two months, destroyed
more than 5,500 projectiles and 31 tons of mustard agent. In October, the plant began the neutralization
process, which breaks down mustard agent into hydrolysate. Which will be broken down further into water,
salts and organics, using a secondary process known as biotreatment. Technicians began testing the Biotreatment
Area using a surrogate solution, Thiodiglycol. Preliminary results showed the system is working
effectively. Workers began the baseline process of reconfiguration,
removing thousands of projectiles from wooden boxes and fiberboard tubes. ♪ (brass quintet) ♪ To recognize the project’s achievements,
leaders held a ribbon cutting ceremony.>>Officiant: Two, three, cut. (clapping)>>Narrator: And celebrated with the depot,
the 241st birthday of the U.S. Army. Meanwhile…>>Operator: 3, 2, 1.>>Narrator: the Explosive Destruction System,
or EDS, remains on standby to process munitions rejected in the main plant. In February, the EDS completed a nearly year-long
campaign, destroying 560 items containing mustard agent. With both EDS and PCAPP, safety is the highest
priority. With operations underway, the Pueblo team
is committed to destroying the stockpile, while protecting the workforce, public and
environment. Honoring an international pledge to rid the
world of chemical weapons. ♪ (music) ♪

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