Neutralization of Chemical Warfare Agent – Bulk Mustard
Client: Non-Stockpile and Army HQ
Site: Non-Stockpile Edgewood, Maryland Task: Evaluation of MuniRem® for Neutralization of Bulk Sulfur Mustard
Date: February - May 2010
Sulfur mustard [bis(2-chloroethyl) sulfide] is the most prevalent chemical warfare agent present at Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel (NSCM) Sites. Destruction of bulk (neat) sulfur mustard (HD) and remediation of HD contaminated soil and materials poses serious health and safety challenges. The main challenge for neutralizing CWA has been finding a safe and cost-effective technology to destroy the agents without forming and accumulating harmful by-products. MuniRem was evaluated as a cost-effective, safer and green alternative neutralent of the CWA mustard.
This project was a collaboration between the United States Non-Stockpile, an Army HQ office, Tennessee Valley Authority, SAIC, and MuniRem Environmental. All tests were performed at Non-Stockpile’s Laboratory in Edgewood, MD. Multiple doses of bulk HD (93.7 wt% purity) were challenged with either MuniRem® powder or the solution at a temperature of 50±2 °C for 6 hours. Additional tests were conducted with sand and metals added as impurities to simulate MuniRem® effectiveness for remediation of HD contaminated soil and empty one ton containers. The disappearance of HD during the 6 hour test and the formation of by-products was investigated.
MuniRem® rapidly degraded bulk (neat) mustard to chloride, sulfur and ethylene gas. The breakdown products of MuniRem® reagent were sulfate and thiosulfate. No hydrogen sulfide was formed. The degradation of HD in the presence of sand and metal was more efficient than in the homogeneous samples (i.e., Nothing). This demonstration confirmed that sulfur mustard is neutralized and degraded to ethylene gas, which is known to rapidly oxidize to CO2. MuniRem® offers a safer and easy to apply rapid neutralization approach for sulfur mustard (HD) and similar chemical warfare agents in bulk or as contaminants in soil and surfaces.