PUEBLO CHEMICAL DEPOT – The acting site project manager for the Pueblo Chemical Depot announced Monday the achievement of a significant milestone.
That milestone, according to the Depot, is the elimination of a quarter of the mustard agent stockpiled in chemical weapons in the Depot.
The plant recently reported passing the 100,00 mark in its current destruction campaign of 155mm munitions. As of March 31st, that number is over 112,400, according to the Depot.
“With the destruction of each 155mm munition, we also eliminate 11.7 pounds of mustard agent,” said Walton W. Levi, acting site project manager. “Destroying more than 112,400 projectiles in the plant also marks the eradication of more than 660 U.S. (598 metric) tons of mustard agent, and that amount exceeds 25 percent of the more than 2,600 U.S. (2,358 metric) tons in the PCD chemical stockpile.”
The plant started agent destruction operations in March 2015 with the activation of the US Army’s Explosive Destruction System, followed by startup of the main plant in September 2016.
Prior to the startup of the plant in Pueblo, the Army’s Chemical Materials Agency had destroyed nearly 90 percent of the US’s declared chemical stockpile. That 90 percent was made up of more than 27,000 tons of chemical nerve and blister agents contained in more than 2.3 million munitions and bulk containers at now-closed incineration sites across the continental US and on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific, according to the Depot.
The Depot houses the largest portion of the nation’s remaining chemical arsenal and has safely stored more than 780,000 mustard agent-filled weapons in the form of 155mm and 105mm projectiles, as well as 4.2-inch mortars since the early 1950’s.
“While we still have much work ahead of us, this achievement demonstrates our continued commitment to the international community to safely eliminate all chemical weapons in the U.S. inventory,” Levi said.
The Depot said its mission remains on path with the careful elimination of all chemical weapons in the PCD stockpile by the Congressionally-mandated deadline of December 31st, 2023.