Anniston Chemical Disposal Facility completes weapons destruction

The Anniston Chemical Disposal Facility in Anniston, Alabama, recently finished destroying its entire stockpile of chemical weapons.

Seventy-two 105mm projectiles filled with mustard gas were fed into the chemical weapons incinerator in front of a crowd gathered in the facility’s control room. As the monitors showed the empty shells exiting the furnace, the room burst into applause, according to According to a spokesman from the Anniston Army Depot, 661,529 nerve agent munitions and 2,254 tons of mustard gas have been destroyed.

The Anniston Chemical Disposal Facility was constructed in 2003 to eliminate the depot's stockpile of mustard and nerve gas as part of the United States' commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Tim Garrett, the site project manager, called it a great day for the community and the state of Alabama now that the legacy of chemical weapons storage has come to an end.

"We have done what we said we would do, which was safely process these munitions, and now that's over," Garrett said, reports. "And there is a great sense of relief for all of us here."

The depot now plans for only the administrative offices of the facility to be kept intact. The facility’s 900 workers will now clean up and destroy the rest of the operation. The incinerator itself will be dismantled and the area turned into a parking lot.

Over the last eight years since the disposal facility was constructed, multiple emergency agencies have trained for the possibility that there could be a major chemical weapons emergency that would force a mass evacuation of the area. Radios, emergency kits and gas masks were also given out to local residents.