|Oregon Chemical Disposal Plant Opens |
Oregon Chemical Disposal Plant Opens
By Diane A. Grant, Army News Service.
Washington D.C. -- (ANS) August 15, 2001 -- A ceremony Aug. 11 marked completion of construction on the $395-million Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Oregon, designed to safely dispose of dangerous chemical munitions.
The facility will be used to destroy chemical munitions that have been stored at the Umatilla Chemical Depot for 40 years. The stockpile consists of spray tanks and bombs containing mustard, sarin, and VX. The disposal process is expected to start in early 2003. A period of testing, called systemization, began in March and will continue until the disposal process gets underway, a plant official said
About 750 visitors and employees attended the ceremony. Several members of Congress, the Department of Defense, the Department of Army, and local community leaders also attended the event.
"We have overwhelming support for the facility from the local community," said Don Barclay, the Disposal Facility Site Project Manager.
The facility was reported as the state's top construction project in 1998, and is described as one of the largest building projects in Oregon history. It is also the second largest project in the Northwest topped only by pro baseball's Seattle Mariners' new stadium, according to the Umatilla outreach office.
Construction for the chemical facility began in June 1997 and was completed May 10. The facility includes a dozen buildings totaling about 200,000 square feet. The facility is expected to dispose of 3,717 tons of chemical agents, or 11.6 percent of the nation's original stockpile, according to the Umatilla Outreach Office.
The Army is committed to safely storing and eliminating these weapons from the community, Barclay said. He added, the process is expected to last more than three years.
"We will take as long it takes to dispose of the chemicals safely," Barclay said.
"We have applied the lessons learned over a 20-year period to develop the Umatilla facility," Barclay said. "We also have several oversight agencies who ensure that we design and implement the best and the safest technology in the disposal process."
The Umatilla Facility will incinerate the chemical agents over a period of several years. Then the facility will be dismantled, Myers said.
Washington Demilitarization Company of Boise, Idaho, holds the Army contract to build, test, operate and close the Umatilla facility. The company has similar contracts for stockpiles at Anniston, Ala., Pine Bluff, Ark., and Johnston Atoll southwest of Hawaii.
For more information contact the Umatilla Outreach Office or visit the Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization Web Site or call the Umatilla Outreach Office at (541) 564-9339.