Decontamination and clearance of U.S. Army chemical agent disposal facilities
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      This experience is valuable because the closure of the CDFs provided unique examples of large-scale clean up due to chemical agent contamination. The major phases of the closure process were planning, decommissioning and decontamination, clearance, and post-clearance.

      During the planning phase, potentially contaminated areas were identified. After identification of these areas, risk assessments were developed along with plans and procedures for decommissioning, decontamination, and verification of decontamination.

      Decommissioning activities included de-energizing equipment and performing gross decontamination. After gross decontamination, equipment and items were removed that could not be decontaminated efficiently or effectively. Remediation of spaces where chemical agent could be trapped was critical to decontamination. Without identification and remediation of these spaces, residual agent contamination could remain despite the rigor of decontamination efforts.

      For clearance after complete decontamination of a facility, unventilated air monitoring testing was used to determine the presence of any residual low-level chemical agent vapor emissions. To conduct unventilated air monitoring testing of an area, the area was sealed and isolated from a facility’s ventilation system. This testing was performed on a room by room or area basis rather than by testing an entire facility.

      For post-clearance once all of a facility’s unventilated monitoring tests were completed, a formal decision process was used to determine whether the process was successful. Once deemed successful, engineering controls for agent hazards were no longer required and the facility ventilation system could be shut down. The buildings were opened to the atmosphere and prepared for demolition.


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