By Michael Fletcher September 15, 2011
UMATILLA CHEMICAL DEPOT, Hermiston, Ore. -- The Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (UMCDF) reached the 90 percent disposal point today in its last campaign when the incineration facility destroyed the 2,371th ton container.
Officials are projecting completion of this final campaign in November of this year, a little more than seven years after the first chemical munition was destroyed on Sept. 8, 2004. For the past 21 days, the plant averaged disposal of 5.6 ton containers per day. The UMCDF has destroyed 2,371 ton containers with 264 remaining.
"As we move closer to eliminating the Umatilla stockpile safely and compliantly, we are continuing to plan our closure activities," said Gary Anderson, UMCDF Army Site Project Manager. "Continuity of our safety culture from operations to closure is of paramount importance and critical to our continued success."
Steve Warren, project general manager for URS, which built and operates the incineration plant, added, "Safety and environmental compliance drive our operations."
"Reaching the 90 percent mark in the disposal campaign is a significant milestone. We have made great strides in ensuring safety and environmental compliance, both in transporting the munitions from the depot to the plant and in the disposal process," said Lt. Col. Kris Perkins, UMCD commander.
Disposal of HD mustard containers is the 13th individual chemical munitions disposal campaign for the depot and disposal plant. The project successfully destroyed six types of GB or sarin-filled munitions and six types of VX-filled munitions. A total of 217,969 GB and VX munitions have been destroyed. Both GB and VX are nerve agents, and most of those munitions contained explosive components. Mustard is a blister agent.
The United States and other nations are destroying chemical weapons stockpiles in compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) international treaty, with a deadline of April 29, 2012.
The following 12 chemical munitions disposal campaigns were safely completed before the start of the mustard campaign:
• 4 GB (sarin-filled) bulk containers or "ton containers" completed Jan. 5, 2006. This was a Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Project (NSCMP) mission.
• 27 GB 500-pound bombs completed May 18, 2006.
• 2,418 GB 750-pound bombs completed June 9, 2006.
• 91,442 GB rockets and warheads completed Aug. 9, 2006.
• 14,246 GB 8-inch diameter artillery projectiles completed Jan. 3, 2007.
• 47,406 GB 155mm diameter artillery projectiles completed July 8, 2007.
• 1 VX bulk container or "ton container" completed Nov. 26, 2007. This was a NSCMP mission.
• 156 VX aircraft-mounted spray tanks completed Dec. 24, 2007.
• 14,519 VX rockets and warheads completed Jan. 23, 2008.
• 32,313 VX 155mm projectiles completed June 27, 2008.
• 3,752 VX 8-inch projectiles completed Aug. 6, 2008.
• 11,685 VX land mines completed Nov. 5, 2008.
Some of the disposal campaigns ran simultaneously, since the plant has multiple processing lines and is capable of safely disposing of different types of munitions at the same time.
When the Umatilla chemical munitions destruction mission is complete, toxic areas in the disposal plant will be thoroughly cleaned and disassembled according to environmental permits. The depot opened in 1941 and chemical munitions have been stored here since the 1960s.