Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant
The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) is a chemical weapons destruction facility that has been built to destroy the chemical weapons stockpile at the Pueblo Chemical Depot, in southeastern Colorado. The depot contains munitions containing 2,611 tons of mustard agent that are part of the U.S. national chemical weapons stockpile. The weapons have been stored at the 23,000-acre (93 km2) depot since the 1950s.
Destruction of this stockpile is a requirement of the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international treaty to which the United States is a party. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention and monitors the progress of the nation’s chemical weapons destruction programs.
The Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (PEO ACWA) oversees the destruction of the Pueblo chemical weapons stockpile.
Bechtel Pueblo Team (BPT) (consisting of Bechtel National, Inc., Washington Demilitarization Company, Parsons and Battelle Memorial Institute) will design, construct, pilot test, operate and close PCAPP.
Planning of activities 
After systemization of the facility, destruction operations are expected to begin in 2015 and to be complete by 2019.  The plant will operate until all the chemical weapons have been destroyed. Closure activities (shut-down, dismantling, and restoration of site) are slated to be wrapped up by 2022.
In 2010, the Pueblo Chemical Depot, in conjunction with the ACWA program, completed an environmental assessment (EA) to meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, and Title 32 Code of Federal Regulations Part 651 regarding the construction and operation of the U.S. Army’s Explosive Destruction System (EDS) and/or other explosive destruction technologies (EDT), at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado. The EA was withdrawn and a new EA was completed in 2012. The new EA focused on the use of explosive destruction technology (EDT) for destroying overpacked and reject munitions. In April 2013, Program Executive Officer Conrad F. Whyne announced his selection of the U.S. Army’s Explosive Destruction System (EDS) to augment the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant for the safe destruction of chemical munitions unsuited for processing by the main plant’s automated equipment.
History of chemical demilitarization in Colorado 
|1950s||• Pueblo Army Depot (later redesignated as the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot) begins storage of chemical weapons containing mustard agent.|
|1980s||• Public Law 99-145 designates the U.S. Army responsible for the destruction of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile.|
|1990s||• The United States Congress establishes the ACWA program under the Department of Defense to identify and demonstrate alternatives to incineration.
• Congress ratifies the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty, which directs all member nations to destroy their chemical weapons and production facilities.
|2000s||• Department of Defense selects neutralization followed by biotreatment as the destruction method for the Colorado stockpile.
• The Bechtel Pueblo Team is awarded a contract to design, build and operate PCAPP.
• PCAPP Groundbreaking is held.
• Design work and preliminary construction is suspended pending evaluation of cost reduction measures.
• PCAPP redesign is approved by the Department of Defense and construction work resumes.
• The Secretary of Defense affirms to Congress that there are no options by which the U.S. can destroy 100 percent of its chemical stockpile by the extended Chemical Weapons Convention treaty deadline of April 29, 2012.
• The Department of Defense accepts the final design for the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.
• Above ground vertical construction begins with erection of the Multipurpose Building.
• Public Laws 110-116 and 110-181 are enacted, mandating destruction of the chemical stockpile by April 2012 or in no case later than Dec. 31, 2017.
• PCAPP receives the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration Voluntary Protection Program Star Status award in recognition of safety excellence.
• PCAPP construction is more than halfway complete, with interior and exterior work ongoing in multiple buildings, including the Agent Processing Building, Control and Support Building, Enhanced Reconfiguration Building, Biotreatment Electrical Building, Entry Control Facility, Immobilized Cell Bioreactor and Offgas Foundation Pads and Munitions and Energetic Service Magazines.
|2010s||• Construction continues with interior and exterior work ongoing in multiple buildings, including the Agent Processing Building, Control and Support Building, Enhanced Reconfiguration Building, Biotreatment Electrical Building, Multipurpose Building, Filter Press Building, PCAPP Medical Clinic, Entry Control Facility, Laboratory Facility, Immobilized Cell Bioreactor, Brine Reduction System, Off Gas Foundation Pads and Munitions and Energetics Service Magazines.
• The systemization phase begins at the Pueblo Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. 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.
• 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 explosive destruction technologies in Pueblo. Following a public comment period and extensive review by Department of Defense leadership, the environment assessment is withdrawn.
• As part of systemizing the facility, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives Test Equipment, or ATE, arrives for practice and training use.
• PCAPP is formally notified by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration that the PCAPP project was re-certified as a Star Worksite under OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program.
• In April 2012, Pueblo Chemical Depot and ACWA completed an environmental assessment to meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, and Title 32 Code of Federal Regulations Part 651, to address any potential impacts of the installation and operation of explosive destruction technology at the depot. The environmental assessment concluded that the installation and operation of an explosive destruction technology will have no significant environmental impacts. A draft Finding of No Significant Impact was prepared and provided for public comment for a 60-day period. It was concluded that no additional analysis was necessary for the proposed action under NEPA.
• On Dec. 12, 2012, PCAPP declares construction complete and moves into the systemization phase of the project.
• On April 18, 2013, Program Executive Officer Conrad F. Whyne announced his selection of the U.S. Army’s Explosive Destruction System (EDS) to augment PCAPP. The decision followed a lengthy review of several explosive destruction technologies designed for the safe destruction of chemical munitions unsuited for processing by the main plant’s automated equipment.
- chemical neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation
- chemical neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation and gas phase chemical reduction
- electrochemical oxidation
Neutralization followed by biotreatment was selected for the destruction of the Colorado stockpile.
The technology comprises the following steps:
- Robotic equipment removes energetics (explosives) from the weapon, including the fuze and the burster. The energetics are disposed of at a permitted facility off site.
- The inside of the weapon is remotely accessed and mustard agent is washed out with high-pressure water.
- The mustard agent is mixed with hot water. The resulting mixture is neutralized with a caustic solution. The byproduct is called hydrolysate. The hydrolysate is treated biologically.
- The water is recovered for reuse in the destruction process and the excess activated sludge is secured in containers for disposal at an off-site permitted facility.
- Metal parts are heated to 1,000 °F (538 °C) for 15 minutes and are then recycled.
After an assessment of problem munitions showed that their destruction would be difficult using neutralization and biotreatment -- ACWA decided to explore use of Explosive Destruction Technology (aka Explosive Demolition Technology, Explosive Detonation Technology, EDT) for these projectiles.
EDT uses heat/pressure from explosion or just heat to destroy the munitions; it is not considered incineration and does not require disassembly of the weapons. There are three general types of technologies that can destroy chemical weapons:
- Detonation Technology – destroys the majority of the agent and explosive in the munition by detonating donor explosives wrapped around the munition. The resulting off-gasses are processed through secondary treatment to ensure agent destruction. Examples of detonation technology include the Transportable Detonation Chamber, or TDC, and the DAVINCH (Detonation of Ammunition in a Vacuum-Integrated Chamber).
- Neutralization Technology – uses small explosive shaped charges to open the munition and consume the explosive in the burster and fuze. The agent is destroyed by subsequent neutralization. The U.S. Army’s Explosive Destruction System, or EDS, is an example.
- Thermal Destruction – uses the heat of the electrically heated containment vessel to deflagrate the munition and destroy the agent and energetics. The resulting gases are treated in an off-gas treatment system. The Static Detonation Chamber, or SDC, is an example of thermal destruction technology.
Public outreach 
The Pueblo Chemical Stockpile Outreach Office was established in 1997 to serve as the community’s primary information resource on chemical weapons destruction in Colorado. The office responds to inquiries, provides information materials and coordinates guest speakers for a variety of different civic groups and organizations and interfaces with the governor-appointed Colorado Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission.
See also 
- assessment for meeting the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, and Title 32 Code of Federal Regulations Part 651
- Video on PCD
- "Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives Website". Department of Defense; Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
- Centers for Disease Control - Chemical Demilitarization
- Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- U.S. Army Chemical Maaterials Activity