The Committee on Assessment of Agent Monitoring Strategies for the Blue Grass and Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants (or ACWA Monitoring Committee) is made up of experts on analytical chemistry (including mass spectrometry and ion mobility measurements), plasma chemistry, environmental chemistry, environmental engineering, statistical sampling and experimental design, process chemical engineering, materials science, quantitative risk assessment, industrial engineering, and environmental regulations. Short biographies of the committee members are presented in Appendix A.


The committee’s statement of task is as follows:

The Program Manager for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (PMACWA) is currently in the process of constructing two chemical agent destruction facilities, the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) in Richmond, Kentucky and the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) in Pueblo, Colorado. According to the current plant design, BGCAPP will dispose of mustard agent H, and nerve agents GB (sarin) and VX using chemical neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation and PCAPP will dispose of mustard agent HD and HT, using chemical neutralization followed by biotreatment. In addition, the selection of an auxiliary explosive destruction technology (EDT) to handle leakers and reject munitions at PCAPP, and exploration of the use of this type of technology to possibly process M55 rocket motors and mustard agent munitions at BGCAPP is currently being investigated by ACWA.

Construction of BGCAPP and PCAPP is in the early stages and chemical agent monitoring strategies have not yet been finalized for these facilities. PMACWA will adopt monitoring methods for airborne agent at BGCAPP and PCAPP similar to those used by the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) at its facilities. The current U.S. Army monitoring procedures have been considered to be sound and proven. However, PMACWA could benefit from a National Research Council (NRC) assessment of any technology advancements to monitor for agent contamination of solid waste materials as well as facility equipment and surfaces at BGCAPP and PCAPP using emerging technologies. Advancements in real-time and near real-time monitoring technology for chemical agents, agent simulants and similar semi-volatile chemicals are being regularly documented in the scientific literature and may present opportunities to build additional efficiencies into waste disposal and closure activities at BGCAPP and PCAPP.

The National Research Council will establish an ad hoc committee to:

•  Review the process designs for both BGCAPP and PCAPP to evaluate the expected degree of contamination for facility solid wastes, equipment, and surfaces anticipated from agent destruction processes.

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