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The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) team is designing, building, systemizing, testing and operating the BGCAPP to safely destroy the chemical weapons stockpile at Blue Grass Army Depot near Richmond, Ky. and will close the plant after operations are completed. The 15,000-acre depot stores 523 tons of liquid and sludge blister agent in projectiles and nerve agent in projectiles and rockets. The BGCAPP modular design incorporates designs and unit operations from other successful chemical demilitarization facilities—approximately 80 percent of the design of the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in Colorado (also managed by Bechtel) is directly applicable to the unit operations selected for the Blue Grass stockpile.

The process chosen by the U.S. Department of Defense as the safest method of destruction – neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) – involves several steps:

  • Disassembling the munitions using modified reverse assembly
  • Removing the chemical agent and energetics (explosives, fuses and propellants) from projectiles and rockets
  • Neutralizing the agent and energetics through a single process: hydrolysis, which produces chemical compounds known as "hydrolysates"
  • Destroying the energetic agent hydrolysates through SCWO, where very high temperature and pressure break them down into carbon dioxide, water and salts
  • Decontaminating the metal parts and other materials (such as wood storage pallets) in a heated discharge conveyor
  • Recycling solid effluents or testing and disposing of them in permitted landfills
  • Recycling gas effluents or filtering and monitoring them before release to the atmosphere

The Army’s Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program (ACWA) is responsible for safe disposal of the Blue Grass stockpile. Many other organizations collaborate with ACWA to complete this mission successfully, including the Blue Grass Army Depot, the Blue Grass Chemical Activity, the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity, the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection and the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management.

Protection of the unique environment around the depot is one of the Army's top considerations. Therefore, permits for BGCAPP are based on special environmental studies and the environment is monitored continually to ensure that agent disposal operations are protective of the area.

After operations are completed, areas of the facility exposed to chemical agent will be decontaminated and the equipment dismantled. The disposition of the rest of the facility has not yet been determined and will be negotiated among the Commonwealth of Kentucky, ACWA and Blue Grass Army Depot.

Moving Kentucky Forward

For information on what the systems contractor is doing to design, build, systemize, operate and ultimately close the destruction facility, please contact the BGCAPP Public Communications Manager at:
(859) 625-1291,

Join Us

To become a partner in the project's public involvement process, please contact the Outreach Office
(859) 625-8944,