Chemical Weapons Bechtle Builds Facility for the Destruction of Chemical Wepons in the US

Editor: Dominik Stephan

The mass destruction potential of chemical weapons make destructing these hazardous agents a daring task. Only the safest and most advanced procedures are used when preparing substances like mustard gas (bis(2-chloroethyl) sulfide, or "Lost"). A recent new chemical weapons destruction facility, designed and build by Bechtel, has recently become operational in the US...

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Bechtel helped to design and build a chemical weapons disposal facility at Pueblo, Colordado.
Bechtel helped to design and build a chemical weapons disposal facility at Pueblo, Colordado.
(Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

Pueblo, Colorado/USA – Bechtel announced today its Bechtel Pueblo Team (BPT) has completed construction of the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP). The facility will eventually destroy 2,611 tons of mustard agent-filled munitions currently being stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado.

“Construction completion marks the first step towards creating a safer community for the citizens of Pueblo,” said BPT Project Manager Doug Omichinski. “Our main goal is not just to build and operate a plant, but to do it safely and to be environmentally compliant.”

Colorado Plant is First of Its Kind in the United States

The Department of Defense’s Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program and community stakeholders broke ground in September 2004. During construction, craft workers hired from the Colorado Building & Construction Trades Council installed more than $200 million dollars worth of underground utilities; redundant electrical and control systems; titanium piping and storage systems; and specialized first-of-a-kind equipment.

PCAPP is currently in the systemization phase of the chemical weapons destruction process, a period during which more than 300 associated subsystems, spread over an 85-acre site, are tested to make sure they work and function together properly. The facility is expected to go operational in 2015. Once operational, PCAPP will use a neutralization technology to destroy mustard agent, followed by a biotreatment process. PCAPP is different from other demilitarization facilities in the country in that it will dismantle individual munitions using a first-of-a-kind robotic process.

Chemical Wepons Dispoal and Destruction Calls for Specialists

BPT, which includes Bechtel, URS, Battelle Memorial Institute, and Parsons Infrastructure and Technology, was awarded the contract in 2002, to design, build, test, operate, and close PCAPP. The team has accomplished several milestones, including exceptional achievement, or Star level, in the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program. This program recognizes U.S. worksites that have exemplary records and demonstrate commitment to workplace safety and health. Also, in 2008, the Bechtel construction team was named “Construction Team of the Year” by its peers.

To learn more about the PCAPP project, watch this short, animated video.