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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pueblo Depot Activity
Pueblo Chemical Depot (PUCD)
Pueblo, Colorado

Bechtel Pueblo is the systems contractor that will design, construct, systemize, pilot test, operate and close the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. The U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD) located near Pueblo, Colo., is one of nine Army installations in the United States and currently store chemical weapons. PCD stores a stockpile of chemical weapons comprising seven percent of the nation's original chemical materiel stockpile. Since 1942, the depotís missions have shifted and expanded, and today the depotís mission is to ensure the safe, secure storage of the chemical weapons stockpile. Encompassing approximately 23,000 acres, PCD reports to the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity (CMA).

The U.S. Army Element, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, known as ACWA is the Department of Defense program responsible for the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile in storage at PCD. Working in partnership with the community, the technology known as neutralization followed by biotreatment was selected in 2002 to destroy the Pueblo chemical weapons stockpile. The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP), is under construction near the storage site.

Constructed during World War II, the Pueblo Depot Activity facility was built to serve as an ammunition and material storage and shipping center. During the late 1950s Pueblo became a major Army missile repair and maintenance facility. The facility operated at nearly full capacity during the Vietnam era.

Although the Army eliminated most of the facility's missile maintenance responsibilities in 1975, Pueblo continued to support the Pershing missile system. At the time of the signing of the Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of the Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty) on December 8, 1987, 111 Pershing II missiles and 169 Pershing IA missiles were stored at this facility. Eventually these Pershing missiles were destroyed at this facility and at Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant in Texas to comply with the INF Treaty to eliminate intermediate-range missiles from the United States and former Soviet arsenals.

Pueblo's primary mission in the 1990s became the storage of chemical munitions.

The Pueblo Chemical Depot's mission is to ensure safe storage for part of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile. The site, located about 14 miles east of Pueblo, Colorado, has been safely storing chemical weapons since the 1950s. The depot has 780,078 weapons with about 2,611 tons of mustard, a blister agent. This represents about 8.5 percent of the original U.S. chemical weapons stockpile. Pueblo Chemical Depot has 922 storage igloos, though only 102 store chemical weapons. Through the Reuse Authority in Pueblo, some of the empty igloos can be leased.

In 1988, the Defense Secretary's Report on Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) recommended the realignment and/or closure of more than 100 Army installations. Pueblo Chemical Depot was identified for realignment. A Reuse Development Plan was generated to address the total reuse of the depot. Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD) is undergoing environmental restoration to restore and make it safe for future reuse. Environmental restoration, the process of "cleaning" a site to environmentally safe standards, is a lengthy process and must be conducted in accordance with federal and state laws that have been enacted in the United States and Colorado.

The Chemical Munitions Storage Area is located along the northern boundary of PCD within the Chemical Demilitarization reuse area. Mustard chemical munitions are stored in above the ground surface, concrete, and earth-covered igloos. The munitions were first stored in C-Block igloos and moved to G-Block in 1979. Munitions are inspected regularly.

The Army assessed viable technologies other than incineration to dispose of chemical weapons at Pueblo. Until this assessment was complete, the Army's planned to construct an incinerator at Pueblo are on hold. The facility will destroy 8.5% of the nation's original chemical stockpile including Mustard agent in projectiles and mortars. The decision about which technology will be used to dispose of Pueblo's stockpile of chemical weapons has not been made, but the path of the two Environmental Impact Statements will lead the Army to that ultimate decision. The reason the Army published two notices and prepared two EIS documents was because there were two separate Army organizations that are examining chemical weapons disposal methods in Pueblo. These two organizations are the Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization (PMCD) and the Program Manager for Assembled Chemical Weapons Assessment (PMACWA). Before it can begin disposing of Pueblo's stockpile, though, PMCD must file a site-specific Environmental Impact Statement to look at the impacts and alternatives that might be unique to Pueblo's stockpile, environment, and community. PMACWA was the Army organization tasked to evaluate, demonstrate, and pilot test technologies other than incineration for the disposal of assembled chemical weapons, such as those stored at Pueblo. PMACWA has already demonstrated three technologies, but a programmatic Environmental Impact Statement must be filed before any pilot testing can begin.

    AGENT        ITEM                  QUANTITY    POUNDS
    HT-Blister   4.2-inch Cartridges    20,384     118,220
    HD-Blister   4.2-inch Cartridges    76,722     460,340
    HD-Blister   105mm Cartridges      383,418   1,138,760
    HD-Blister   155mm Projectiles     299,554   3,504,780

Ammunition Maintainence Buildings were once used for maintainence and ammunition. Each building is divided into several 'compartments' so that if an explosion occurred, the entire building would not be destroyed.

Besides the storage igloos, sunflowers are found throughout the Pueblo Chemical Depot. The arrid terrain is also a natural habitat for prairie dogs, pronghorn antelope, and Red-Bellied Dace fish.

Pueblo Chemical Depot has 922 storage igloos, though only 102 store chemical weapons. Through the Reuse Authority in Pueblo, some of the empty igloos can be leased.

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Page last modified: 10-09-2013 14:09:59 ZULU