Umatilla facility passes halfway mark for destroying chemical weapons

Officials with the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Oregon reported recently that they have passed the halfway mark for destroying their stockpile of chemical weapons.

Officials told that this included all of the nerve agent and part of the mustard gas agent destroyed since the facility began its chemical operations in 2004. As of August 6, officials said the facility had destroyed more than 1,858 tons of liquid chemical agents, or about half  of the original 3,717 tons stored there.

Gary Anderson, the U.S. Army’s Site Project Manager, told that he has the utmost confidence in the current program.

“This is an exciting time to be a part of this program,” Anderson told “In my first month here, I can clearly see the expertise and desire to ensure success. I’m confident we’ll continue to live up to the high expectations and trust our work has generated in the community.”

Lt. Col. Kris Perkins, commander of the Umatilla Chemical Depot, agreed.

“This is a great accomplishment for all of the 1,200 employees at the depot and disposal facility. Safety and compliance will remain a continued focus,” Perkins told

Perkins said the depot began incinerating chemical agents in September 2004 and has destroyed all GB and VX nerve agents. It also has destroyed nearly all of the individual chemical munitions in the stockpile.

Perkins said the depot has taken nearly six years to destroy the first half of the stockpile because most of it was stored in small containers in rockets, land mines and  artillery shells. It is estimated that it should only take two years to destroy the last half of the munitions because mustard agent is stored in only one way - in large steel containers with no explosive. This, Perkins said, will allow officials to work faster.

The facility has fewer than 2,100 mustard ton containers left to destroy.