Officials representing the engineering and project management firm Bechtel said its Pueblo Team safely eliminated nearly 300,000 155mm chemical weapons projectiles stored at the Army Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado.
The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) team executed the actions – ending the plant’s first munitions campaign.
“Destruction of 155mm projectiles is a great accomplishment for the PCAPP team,” Ken Harrawood, project manager, Bechtel Pueblo Team, said. “Innovative solutions are key to solving issues that arise with a complex and one-of-a-kind operating facility like PCAPP. This would not have been possible without the dedication and professionalism of our amazing workforce.”
Bechtel leads the team contracted to help the United States complete its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty by safely destroying 2,611 tons of mustard agent inside munitions.
The scope of work, per authorities, involved using landmark technology to neutralize the mustard agent molecules with caustic and hot water, noting the process byproduct is a chemical compound called hydrolysate.
The compound is a common industrial chemical that is readily biodegradable. A biotreatment process breaks down hydrolysate into salts, water, and organics using living microbes.
Officials indicated more than 780,000 total munitions were in the original Colorado stockpile – adding the Bechtel-led team is scheduled to complete its mission of safely destroying all chemical weapons in the stockpile by 2023.