Washington Demilitarization Company fined for violations at Umatilla

The Washington Demilitarization Company, the operator of the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Hermiston, Oregon, was recently fined $11,000 for permit violations by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality .

The DEQ administered the penalty for the company’s failure to follow the terms of its hazardous waste storage and treatment permit.

A portion of the fine - $8,800 - was levied because the WDC did not appropriately monitor a chemical agent in an HVAC filter in the facility’s Munitions Demilitarization Building in October. For 11 hours, the power to an air monitoring station was inadvertently turned off. The station tests air samples for the presence of GB and VX nerve agent.

The remainder of the fine - $2,200 - was administered because the WDC did not submit a report about independent oversight activities at the plant. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention completed a report on its inspection of the plant in September, and the WDC did not forward the report to DEQ within a required 15 day window.

“Although these two permit violations did not result in any human or environmental harm at the facility, any failure to comply with permit requirements poses a risk of harm,” a DEQ spokesman wrote in a press release. “Reliable and consistent operation of each component of the facility’s monitoring and alarm system is important to ensure the system is operating to be protective of workers, the public and the environment.”