Umatilla Depot delivers last load of sarin-filled chemical weapons to disposal plant
July 6, 2007
UMATILLA CHEMICAL DEPOT, Hermiston, Ore. - The last GB (sarin) munitions stored at the Umatilla Chemical Depot were safely transported today to the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility for final destruction. The final load was comprised of 155 mm artillery projectiles. It was the 4,815th Enhanced On-Site Container delivery of the GB campaign that started in September 2004. The campaign will officially conclude when all the projectiles now in the disposal plant are processed through the metal parts furnace. The final munition is expected to be destroyed at the plant within about a week.
"This is a tremendous team effort, a huge accomplishment by depot workers and the off-post community" said Lt. Col. Donna Rutten, depot commander. "Those deliveries were safely completed without an accident or major incident. I'm very proud of our workers' dedication and commitment, and thankful for the strong community support we've received during years of effort leading up to this milestone."
Agent destruction operations at Umatilla began in September of 2004 after years of design and construction of the disposal plant. The depot and off-post officials are strong partners in emergency preparedness. The State of Oregon issues and oversees environmental operating permits and modifications.
"The last of the GB munitions are now safely under engineering controls at the disposal plant," said Don Barclay, Army site project manager, referring to the self-contained environment at UMCDF. "We're not quite finished with the GB disposal campaign, but getting the last GB munitions out of storage and into the plant is a landmark event."
"We are living up to our commitment to the community to safely store, transport and destroy chemical weapons at the depot, and to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the danger they pose," Rutten added.
The depot has safely delivered more than 155,000 rockets, bombs and artillery projectiles to the incineration plant. More than 60 storage igloos have been emptied of GB munitions. On June 28, the last "overpacks," munitions that leaked while in storage and were placed inside another container, or "overpacked," were safely transported in EONCs to the disposal plant.
On June 27, the disposal facility also surpassed the 1,000-tons-of-GB-agent-destroyed milestone. After the last GB munitions are processed in about a week, UMCDF will spend about five months in changeover activities as it prepares to process munitions containing VX, another type of nerve agent. When the VX disposal campaign is completed, mustard blister agent will be destroyed.