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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Army Neutralizes 1,623 Tons of Mustard Agent, Meets Requirements for Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility Closure

Mar 13, 2007
BY Heather McDowell

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Army News Service, March 13, 2007) - The Army announced yesterday the completion of all requirements to close the Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. The command neutralized 1,623 tons of mustard agent, decontaminated and disposed of the steel containers used to hold the agent, and demolished buildings used during the disposal process.

"Today marks a significant achievement in the global chemical weapons disarmament effort. ABCDF is the first chemical weapons disposal facility in the continental U.S. to destroy its stockpile and decontaminate and demolish its plant," said Dale Ormond, Army Chemical Materials Agency acting director. "It is a model for all the other facilities that will follow suit."

The site has fewer buildings since the ton container cleanout facility and process neutralization building, the two structures dedicated to agent destruction activities, were demolished. Auxiliary buildings, such as the medical infirmary and administrative trailers have also been removed. In addition, all waste generated from closure has been decontaminated and disposed.

"Safety has always been the cornerstone of our project. We built, operated and now closed this facility with safety as the first priority. The fact that our safety record during closure is on par with banking institutions is testament to this," said Brian O\'Donnell, ABCDF site project manager.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permit issued by the state will take an additional few months to achieve before full closure. RCRA governs the construction, operation and closure of hazardous waste storage, treatment and disposal facilities. Since ABCDF is located on APG, its property and structures will remain under Army control after closure. Some of the equipment at ABCDF may be used at another CMA or government facility. The site will be re-used by APG.

Remaining disposal facilities are located in Anniston, Ala., Pine Bluff, Ark., Pueblo, Colo., Newport, Ind., Richmond, Ky, Umatilla, Ore., and Tooele, Utah. ABDCF is the second chemical demilitarization facility to close. Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System completed closure operations in November 2000.

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