The Richmond Register

Local News

March 7, 2009

‘Swift Solution’ could conclude by end of the month

The waste from three steel containers stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot has safely arrived at its disposal location at Veolia Environmental Services near Port Arthur, Texas, successfully completing stage three of Operation Swift Solution that began Nov. 12, 2008. The project should be entirely completed by the end of this month of early April.

“We’re still packaging up all the solid wastes,” said Joseph J. Novad, deputy operations and engineering manager for the U.S. Army Element, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA), which is headquartered at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. “We’re working with KDEP to get final approval so that we can start final demobilization and actually start packing up all the equipment and shipping it back to Maryland.”

Novad is responsible for the activities associated with safety, environmental monitoring and technology development for the chemical weapons destruction at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, Colo., and the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.

The special operation stemmed from a small GB nerve agent leak from one of three steel containers stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot.

The solution of 39 percent nerve agent combined with other breakdown products had been stored in the three containers since the mid-1980s, Novad said. The total amount of solution stored in the three containers was about 135 gallons.

The mixture had began to corrode the threads that sealed the container, which caused the leak.

“We’ve been able to successfully complete this mission in a safe manner and get rid of the risk that was impacting the construction efforts that were going on at the current demilitarization plant,” Novad said.

He is referring to the chemical weapons destruction plant that is now under construction at the depot and will destroy the remaining chemical weapons that have been in storage at the depot, some since the 1940s.

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