The Richmond Register

June 25, 2013

Study finds insignificant impact for weapons destruction chambers

Public comment taken through July 24


Register Staff Report

BEREA — A recently concluded environmental study has found that using enclosed explosive chambers to destroy a limited number of mustard agent weapons at the Blue Grass Army Depot would have no significant environmental impact.

The study was conducted by the Program Executive Office of the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) in conjunction with the Army as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

The public will have through July 24 to comment on the finding.

A public meeting on the issue is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. July 16 at the EKU Perkins Building on Kit Carson Drive. It will begin with an informal poster session, followed by formal presentations.

The environmental assessment, the draft “Finding of No Significant Impact,” and other supporting documents may be found on the ACWA website at www.peoacwa.army.mil and at:

• Richmond Branch, Madison County Public Library, 507 W. Main St.

• Berea Branch, Madison County Public Library, 319 Chestnut St.

• Crabbe Library, Eastern Kentucky University, 521 Lancaster Ave.

• Hutchins Library, Berea College, 100 Campus Dr.

Comments may be submitted via the ACWA website noted above, may be emailed to osd.APG.usamc.mbx.acwa-hq-environmental@mail.mil, may be faxed to 410-436-6026 or mailed to Program Executive Office, ACWA, 5183 Blackhawk Road, ATTN: SFAE-ACW-RM, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21010-5424.

A decision will be made on this proposed action following review of the public comments, according to an ACWA news release.

A 2011 X-ray assessment of the Blue Grass chemical weapons stockpile confirmed the solidification of mustard agent in a significant number of 155mm mustard projectiles, rendering them unsuitable for automated processing in the main plant.

These problematic munitions, together with some 200 mustard projectiles that have leaked in the past and are now overpacked, require a different technological approach for their destruction.

To resolve this issue, ACWA is considering the use of an EDT to augment the neutralization/supercritical water oxidation destruction process to be employed by the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, according to the news release.