Pueblo Pilot Plant to test biotreatment process on hydrolysate

30-day storage tanks house hydrolysate at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.
30-day storage tanks house hydrolysate at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. | Courtesy of the PEO ACWA
The Program Executive Office, Assemble Chemical Weapons Alternatives (PEO ACWA) reported this week that the bio-treatment process at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) will be tested utilizing chemical byproducts.

As the plant’s testing phase nears completion, the development of risk reduction procedures in biological treatment areas at the facility is a priority.

Hydrolysate is a byproduct that results from the chemical neutralization process for stockpiled chemical armaments. In order to address this, the plant is implementing Immobilized Cell Bioreactors (ICB) in order to break down the compounds through the use of microorganisms.

“The risk reduction testing is designed to reveal challenges,” Walton Levi, deputy site project manager at PCAPP, said. “It will allow PCAPP staff to understand failure modes and hence develop corrective actions.”

In order to test risk reduction efforts, the facility received thiodiglycol (TDG), which is a component of hydrolysates, from German manufacturer LASF. This material was placed in 30-day storage containers in order to dilute the compound to remain in line with international treaties.

Over the course of testing, four ICB units will be operational. Initial components within these units will consist of urea, diammonium phosphate and TDG, which will be added in incremental amounts so that the microbes in the treatment units can become acclimated to the material.