The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant project has destroyed more than 88,000 munitions and have emptied 10 storage igloos.

That's according to an end-of-year message addressed to citizens of Pueblo County and stakeholders by Greg Mohrman, the plant's site project manager.

"The performance of the plant since restarting destruction operations in mid-June surpasses the estimate we originally made at that time," wrote Mohrman. "Already we can report more than 523 tons, or 20 percent of the chemical mustard agent from the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot stockpile is destroyed. Internationally, this is welcome news, and signals to the world that we are committed to meet a congressionally-mandated deadline of December 2023.

Mohrman also said PCAPP has gone through several challenging technical issues in the past year, and that the team has worked diligently to safely and effectively overcome those obstacles.

In 2017 and the first part of this year, PCAPP experienced systems failures associated with its agent neutralization reactors specifically related to vibration and piping vibration isolator failures, according to Mohrman.

"Although difficult to halt munitions destruction, needed re-engineering of steam heating systems and the isolators were successfully addressed for the future sustainability of the agent neutralization system," Mohrman said. "This, and some other system issues, were faced head-on by the team. They worked together and found resolutions that allowed us to successfully and safely restart the plant this past June."

Mohrman said that the team at PCAPP have worked more than 11 million hours without a lost time illness or injury.

"That's a huge accomplishment and a testament to how our employees and management emphasize every aspect of safe operations," he said. "Since the beginning of the project, the driving objective has been that everyone will leave work in the same, or better, condition than when they arrived."

rseverance@chieftain.com