Bechtel completes Pueblo chemical weapons demilitarization facility

Bechtel, an international engineering and construction company, announced the completed construction on Tuesday of a chemical weapon demilitarization facility that will be used to destroy mustard-agent filled weapons.

The Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant will be used to disable 2,611 tons of munitions that are currently being stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado. The facility is expected to be operational in 2015.

"Construction completion marks the first step towards creating a safer community for the citizens of Pueblo," Doug Omichinski, the Bechtel Pueblo Team project manager, said. "Our main goal is not just to build and operate a plant, but to do it safely and to be environmentally compliant."

The facility is in the systemization phase of the chemical weapon destruction process. During that phase, more than 300 associated subsystems spread over an 85-acre site are tested to ensure they work properly.

After the PCAPP becomes operational, the facility will use a neutralization technology to destroy mustard agent and then a biotreatment process. The facility differs from other demilitarization installments in the country in that it will use a novel robotic process to dismantle individual munitions.

Work broke ground on the facility in September 2004, at which time more than $200 million worth of underground utilities, titanium piping, storage facilities, new equipment, and redundant electrical and control systems were installed.

Since it was founded in 1898, Bechtel has worked on more than 22,000 projects in 140 countries.