The Richmond Register

Local News

March 11, 2009

Advisory co-chair wants decision on chemical weapons hydrolysate

The co-chair of the community advisory board that met Tuesday for a progress update on construction of the chemical weapons destruction plant at the Blue Grass Army Depot expressed displeasure about the lack of progress in one aspect of the project.

Craig Williams, who also heads the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, said he would like to know when a decision will be made on how the hydrolysate that will result from neutralization of the chemical weapons stored at the depot will be treated and then disposed of.

While the advisory board heard about progress being made in construction of the plant’s exterior and some of its internal equipment, no update was given about the hydrolysate issue.

“I’d like to know when we can expect a decision on this,” Williams said. “And when the decision is made, I’d like to see it released to the public instead of waiting for the next quarterly (advisory board) meeting.”

The next meeting of the Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board has three remaining meeting this year -- June 9, Sept. 8 and Dec. 8.

The CDCAB did learn Tuesday that design of the projects' construction-containment building is complete and is under review.

Redesign of the structure, needed because a previous design was rejected by a military review board, will delay plant completion by about five months, said Mark Seely, project manager for general contractor Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass.

“We’re looking at ways construction can be accelerated to make up for some of that delay,” he said.

Construction continues to proceed safety, Seely said. Employees of Bechtel Parsons and its subcontractors have completed more than 3.7 million job hours without a lost-time injury.

The company actively involves all workers and managers to maintain a safe workplace culture said, Jeff Weldon, safety manager for the contractor.

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