Biological treatment of reaction products from chemical neutralization of GB and VX was considered in the Alternatives report as a potentially viable process subsequent to chemical neutralization. This is being pursued at the Edgewood Research, Development and Engineering Center, but only very preliminary results have been reported.
Cultures have been isolated that utilize ethylmethylphosphonic acid (EMPA) and pinacolyl alcohol as sole sources of carbon for growth. EMPA is produced in stoichiometric amounts from either enzymatic or chemical cleavage of the P—S bond of VX. Pinacolyl alcohol is the alcohol product of GD hydrolysis. Efforts are under way to identify organisms involved and to characterize these processes.
Application of wet air oxidation as a primary treatment process for chemical agents would result in the formation of aqueous solutions containing acetic acid and other low molecular weight organic compounds. Biological treatment of waste streams similar to those anticipated from wet air oxidation has been applied broadly at full scale. Process development for the specific wastewater stream produced by wet air oxidation would still be required.