The Department of Defense was directed by Congress through Public Law 99-145 to be the government agency responsible for destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile. To comply with treaty agreements and congressional mandate, destruction of these weapons was to be completed by 2007. An additional five-year extension was exercised allowing the program to meet a 2012 deadline. Another extension is approved for a January 2023 deadline.
The program manager for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) is responsible for the disposal of the chemical weapons stockpile in Colorado and Kentucky, and currently has a treaty compliance deadline of December 2023.
The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ agent for facility design and facility construction of chemical demilitarization facilities. The U.S. Army Rock Island Contracting Command, Rock Island, Illinois, is the contracting agency.
Pueblo Chemical Depot, Colorado
Blue Grass Chemical Activity, Kentucky
Public Law 104-208 established the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) program to evaluate and select candidate alternative technologies to incineration. In July 2002, DOD approved neutralization followed by biotreatment “as the selected technology for the Pueblo facility. A systems contract was awarded in September 2002 to Bechtel National Inc. “Neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation” was selected as the technology for the Blue Grass facility. A systems contract was awarded in June 2003 to the Bechtel-Parsons Blue Grass Joint Venture.
In June 2003, the ACWA program formally changed its name to Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) to better reflect its newly expanded role overseeing the full-scale pilot testing of selected neutralization technologies to destroy the chemical weapons stockpiles in Colorado and Kentucky. Construction at both locations was completed by May 2016. Weapons demilitarization operations began at Pueblo in September 2016 and was at over 85% of the chemical weapons destroyed as of July 15, 2022. Weapons demilitarization operations began at Blue Grass in September 2019 and was at over 55% of the chemical weapons destroyed as of July 15, 2022. Static Detonation Chamber Systems (SDCs) complexes have been constructed at both Blue Grass and Pueblo. The SDCs will supplement destruction of agent filled munitions, in parallel with the main plant operations, in order to successfully achieve the December 2023 International Treaty compliance date.
Bio-Threat Reduction Program
Huntsville Center’s Chemical Warfare Design Center is supporting Biosafety Laboratory 3 (BSL-3) facility validation in Baku Azerbaijan and providing construction quality assurance for seven BSL-2 labs in Iraq for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). The U.S. has an interest, through DTRA, in extending U.S. foreign aid and monitoring U.S. interests with international biothreat outbreaks.
Download the Chemical Demilitarization fact sheet (PDF) HERE.
(as of August 2022)