Chemical weapon incineration co. fined

The Washington Demilitarization Company LLC has agreed to pay the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality $41,600 in civil penalties for remediation efforts and ensure compliance with its hazardous waste treatment facility permit for the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Hermiston, Washington.

The company operates the depot's incineration facility, which is tasked with disposing of chemical weapons stockpiles for the U.S. Army.

The fines will cover two violations. The first was for modifying the facility’s hazardous waste storage and treatment permit and then improperly operating under the changed document.

The second penalty, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality, was for failing to follow standard operating procedures.

The DEQ alleges that the company did not strictly follow proper air monitoring procedures when it incinerated a container of the liquid blister agent agent HD. DEQ officials said that this resulted in the container being discharged from the facility's treatment unit before it was properly treated.

Steven Potts, the administrator of the DEQ’s Chemical Demilitarization Program, however, stressed that the violations did not result in any reported public health hazards or direct environmental harm.

Washington Demilitarization also agreed to operate under a set of DEQ-established interim compliance conditions that will protect human health and the environment until a final permit modification is finalized.

The Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility has been incinerating chemical weapons at the Hermiston site since September 2004.