Umatilla Depot Completes Chemical Weapons Destruction
Workers at Umatilla Chemical Depot incinerated the last ton container of mustard blister agent last week, completing the disposal of the chemical weapons stockpile stored at the northern Oregon facility.
When the Army began incinerating the weapons stored at Umatilla in 2004, the depot held 3,717 tons of nerve and blister agent, accounting for almost 12 percent of the nation’s chemical weapons stockpile.
The Army now will begin closure operations, which are expected to take up to four years. Closure will mean the loss of up to 1,150 military and civilian workers, reported Oregon Live. URS, the system contractor, plans to leave by 2016 after the incinerator is dismantled.
It still is uncertain how the Army will dispose of the property, which was included in the BRAC round that was just completed.
The Army has told the LRA that the depot no longer is considered a BRAC site since it was not shut down before the Sept. 15, 2011, implementation deadline. As a result, the authority may not be able to acquire some of the site for redevelopment under the BRAC statute. The local congressional delegation, however, has attached measures to legislation advancing in the House and Senate that would ensure the Army follows the BRAC process in disposing of the depot.