The Richmond Register

Local News

July 17, 2013

Comments due Wednesday on use of destructive chamber technology

To destroy mustard weapons at Blue Grass Army Depot

PAINT LICK — The public has until Wednesday to submit comments on the environmental assessment conducted on the proposed use of enclosed explosive detonation technology to destroy about 15,000 problematic rounds of mustard agent weapons at the Blue Grass Army Depot.

The assessment was made public June 25, and members of the community were invited to hear a presentation, ask questions and make comments Tuesday night at Eastern Kentucky University’s Perkins Building.

Most of the nearly 40 people in attendance were there in some official capacity, but a lively round of discussion took place between the lay audience and professionals who represented the Army and the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Based on experience with efforts to destroy similar weapons at other depots, as well as x-rays of those stored here, the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternative (ACWA) believes the mustard agent rounds cannot be destroy by the multi-billion dollar plant being built at the depot, said Jeff Brubaker, the government’s project manager.

The mustard agent has crystalized inside the defective rounds and their explosive bursters can be removed only with great difficulty, Brubaker said. If sent through the automated plant that will destroy the vast majority of the chemical weapons, including all the nerve agent weapons, they could jam the system, he explained. That would require sending personnel into the plant to remove the defective rounds, at great risk of exposure to the chemical agents and/or explosives.

Explosive detonation technology, which exploded the mustard round inside steel chambers at other sites, has a long history of use by private industry, said Craig Williams of the independent Chemical Weapons Working Group, who also is co-chair of the official Chemical Destruction Citizen’s Advisory Board.

About 2,300 rounds were destroyed without incident using EDT at the Anniston, Ala., Army depot, he said.

As many as seven EDT chambers could be set up on less than six acres at the depot if the technology is used, said Jon Ware, an environmental scientist at ACWA headquarters in Aberdeen, Md.

All of the mustard rounds could be destroyed in about 38 weeks, he said, and no sound or vibration from the operation should be noticeable outside the depot.

Despite EDT having been successfully used to destroy other materials, state law requires that any technology used to destroy chemical weapons be demonstrated to pose no environmental danger in regular use before it can be permitted for that purpose in Kentucky, said Dr. George Partridge, an engineer with the state Division of Waste Management. Partridge works for a group in state environmental agency which has oversight of the depot’s operations.

Its use would be subject to approval by the state agency, which has a special section assigned to monitor BGAD operations, he said.

EDT is also being considered for use in destroying mustard weapons from the same manufacturing lot as those stored at a depot in Pueblo, Colo., the federal officials said. The mustard rounds stored here should be the last in the American stockpile, although random small numbers of unaccounted-for weapons could be discovered elsewhere.

EDT has “an excellent record” of capturing treated gases generated by the controlled explosions, Partridge said. But while the environmental assessment “very adequately” addressed local air quality impact, he believes data used in the study is less clear with regard to cumulative national impact, he said.

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.

The environmental assessment 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.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 7-27 HeartChase 1.jpg A race to the finish line

    Sheltered by overcast sky and supported by a cool breeze, teams competed Saturday morning in the second annual HeartChase at Richmond Centre.

    July 26, 2014 6 Photos

  • 7-27 Hops 1.jpg Hops & Vine Festival raises money for humane society

    Downtown Richmond’s Hops and Vine Festival started more than two years ago with a question.

    July 26, 2014 3 Photos

  • Bill Clinton will stump for Grimes in eastern Kentucky

    Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is again calling in the “Big Dog” in her quest to unseat five-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    Former President Bill Clinton will join Grimes on Aug. 6 for a campaign rally in eastern Kentucky, according to a campaign official who would provide no further details.

    July 26, 2014

  • 7-26 Stockyards 2.jpg Cattle farmers enjoying ‛perfect storm’

    Demand is up, and cattle are selling for record prices.

    At the same time, corn prices are down and fuel prices have stabilized.

    That adds up to a “perfect storm” for Kentucky cattle farmers, said Gary Kelly of Paint Lick as he ate lunch Friday with his brother Jimmy at the restaurant across from the Blue Grass Stockyards.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • 7-26 Fire Practice Structure 1.jpg Fire training tower going up

    A new training tower for the Richmond Fire Department is rising on Four Mile Road.

    Construction began Thursday on the four-story, steel-framed structure.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Pavement work to restrict I-75 in Rockcastle County

    Beginning Sunday until about the end of November, Interstate 75 in Rockcastle County will be reduced to one lane in each direction between mile points 58 and 66 for pavement work.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jailed woman charged with heroin trafficking

    A Richmond woman already jailed on another charge was served with a drug trafficking warrant Thursday.

    July 26, 2014

  • County’s jobless rate improves

    Madison County’s unemployment rate for June, 6.5 percent, was a full percentage point lower than a year earlier and 0.2 points lower than in May.

    July 24, 2014

  • 7-25 Camp Invention 1.jpg Young inventors turn trash to treasure

    The first day of Camp Invention began with a room full of objects ready to be recycled, Sarah Shaffer, director of the camp said Thursday.

    July 24, 2014 6 Photos

  • 7-25 William Gilbert.jpg Four arrested on meth charges at Berea motel

    Berea Police arrested four people Wednesday at the Knights Inn on Chestnut Street, including a man they said tried to conceal a meth lab on his person.

    July 24, 2014 5 Photos

AP Video
Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Madison County’s three local governing bodies ban smoking in indoor public places?

Yes
No
     View Results