Deseret Chemical Depot receives munitions disposal equipment

A high-tech piece of equipment designed to deal with chemical munitions that are too corroded for standard procedures has arrived in Utah, where officials believe it will work as expected without causing harm to people or the environment.

The typical plan at the Deseret Chemical Depot for the artillery shells and mortar rounds that contain chemical agents like mustard gas has been to cut them open and drain the agents into two separate furnaces. Several hundred munitions were believed to be too corroded or unstable to put through the standard incinerator, reports.

“We possibly could have had a potential detonation or a situation where somebody could have been injured,” Jim Grgich, manager of the Army’s chemical weapon incinerator in Tooele County, said, according to “I am 100 percent confident [this new method] will work, based on the design of it.”

The chamber, called the Detonation of Ammunition in a Vacuum Integrated Chamber, is a set of two chambers, one inside the other, that weighs 160,000 pounds. The DAVINCH system has an elaborate filtration system that handles explosion gases and, while a loud noise can be heard, nothing emerges from the container, according to It is built by Kobe Steel of Japan, according to the Washington Examiner.

Even if a problem does occur with the DAVINCH, the plant will be capable of handling it.

“In the event that we do see [mustard] agent in that off-gas system, we have the ability to contain it before it’s released to the environment," Grgich said, reports. "We have the ability to continuously re-circulate that until it is clean.”

Testing will take place in the summer while detonations will start in September, once final approval from federal and state agencies is received.