Last mustard agent container destroyed at Umatilla Chemical DepotPosted: Updated:
UMATILLA COUNTY, Ore. -- Nearly 50 years of chemical agent storage came to an end today with the destruction of the last ton container of mustard blister agent in the Metal Parts Furnace at the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility.
"Today, the employees of the UMCDF made their mark on history by completing agent destruction operations," said Gary Anderson, UMCDF Site Project Manager. "More than 1,000 dedicated Army and contractor employees have made Oregon safer for its citizens. Additionally, their efforts successfully achieved the Chemical Weapons Convention Mandate to destroy the Depot's chemical weapons by April 2012. Congratulations on jobs well done."
"There's a lot of pride to be able to get this job done," says Mark Evans who works inside the plant as the control room manager. Evans grew up in the Tri-Cities, and being a part of this project is something he says he's glad to be a part of.
"It is a bit of a sad day, it's bittersweet really, everyone wanted to get here, all of our people realize they are working themselves out of a job right now. But it's the right thing to do," says, Steve Warren the project general manager with URS, the contractor.
I"It's very historical for the county, we had multiple sites throughout the united states, Oregon containing 12 percent of the national stockpile," said the deputy site manager, Mike Strong.
The final TC was the last of 220,604 munitions and containers containing 3,717 tons of nerve and blister chemical agent stored at Umatilla since 1962. Incineration of chemical agent began in 2004. The UMCDF partnered with the Umatilla Chemical Depot, which safeguarded chemical agents at UMCD since 1962 and URS, the system contractor for the project.
"Our employees are proud to complete the mission of destroying the chemical agent safely and ahead of schedule," said Warren . "We will carry the same attitude of putting safety first as we move into closure activities.
The break down of the plant will begin Wednesday and continue for three and half years. With the end of the project, comes the end of more than 800 jobs. the lay offs will start gradually in February. The majority will happen in about a year and half.
October 25, 2011: Completed destruction of HD mustard agent - End of Operations
June 27, 2010: Completed mustard Agent Trial Burn for Metal Parts Furnace (MPF) and Liquid Incinerators (LICs).
June 11, 2009: Began first HD ton container destruction in the MPF.
June 4, 2009: First HD ton containers transported from depot storage to disposal plant.
Nov. 5, 2008: Completed VX munitions campaign.
Oct. 26, 2007: Began VX munitions campaign.
July 8, 2007: Completed GB munitions campaign.
Sept. 7, 2004: UMCDF received first GB munitions for disposal.