Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility prepared for final closure

By Richard Arndt, JPM-E (P)January 2, 2014

Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility prepared for final closure
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Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility prepared for final closure
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PINE BLUFF ARSENAL, Ark. (Jan. 2, 2014) -- After 15 years of construction, systemization, operations, closure and demolition, the end has finally arrived for the Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, here.

The government field office, which falls under the auspices of the DOD's Joint Project Manager for Elimination (Provisional), or JPM-E (P), will close its doors today -- its mission complete. The systems contractor for the project, URS, removed its last workers from the site, located at Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas, Dec. 19.

According to Mark Greer, Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, or PBCDF, site project manager for JPM-E (P), the successful closure of the PBCDF is a result of the effort put forth by PBCDF employees and the project's stakeholders.

"This was a project made up of very successful partnerships," Greer said. "The employees, the local communities, the state regulators, the systems contractor, they all stepped up and did their part to see us through operations and then through the closure process."

The facility's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act permits have been closed since February 2013, and the paperwork to close the final environmental permit, which deals with storm water runoff, has been submitted to the State of Arkansas. The final closure of the contract with URS will be accomplished off site between JPM-E (P) headquarters at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland and URS corporate headquarters in Colorado.

Construction began on the PBCDF in January 1999 and was completed in November 2002. Chemical agent disposal operations began in March 2005, and in the ensuing five years the facility safely destroyed 123,100 munitions containing approximately seven million pounds of chemical agent.

The PBCDF completed chemical agent disposal operations in November 2010. Once disposal operations were complete, the facility was decontaminated and dismantled in accordance with applicable permits and in close coordination with Pine Bluff Arsenal.

Twenty-four buildings associated with the PBCDF, which were not involved in the processing of chemical weapons, were left standing and were turned over to Pine Bluff Arsenal for reuse. The land formerly occupied by the PBCDF remains the property of Pine Bluff Arsenal.

At its peak, the PBCDF employed as many as 1,200 government and contractor workers. That number was gradually reduced after chemical agent disposal operations ended in November 2010, with about a dozen staged contractor workforce reductions that were triggered by completion of various operational milestones. Likewise, several reductions in force were conducted to reduce the number of government employees, both at the Pine Bluff Chemical Activity, which deactivated Aug. 14, 2012, and at the PBCDF field office.

The PBCDF at Pine Bluff Arsenal was the first multi-chemical agent, multi-munitions plant in the continental United States to complete chemical agent destruction activities using incineration.

The arsenal held the nation's second largest chemical agent stockpile that included 3,850 tons, about 12 percent of the U.S. stockpile. The weapons inventory consisted of 119,390 rockets and mines containing nerve agents GB and VX, and blister agent HD/HT (mustard agent) in 3,703 one-ton bulk containers.

Construction at the PBCDF began in January 1999. Operations at the facility began in March 2005, and were completed in November 2010. The facility's closure will be complete in January of 2014.

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Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility