Umatilla prepares to destroy last of its chemical weapons

Oregon’s Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility is in preparations to destroy the last of the chemical weaponry stored at the site in the coming week.

At one point, the facility was used to store nearly 4,000 tons of GB sarin, VX and mustard agent, but soon, the last ton container will be destroyed and nearby residents will be asked to turn in their tone-alert radios, according to

"We've had this danger for so many years," Jim Hackett, a U.S. Army spokesman said, reports. "And people have accepted this danger, in the Hermiston area anyway. All of a sudden it's gone. It's a great feeling, it's kind of exciting, but sort of a weird feeling. But we'll get over it."

A portion of the chemical depot’s staff will remain to dismantle the incinerator and other portions of the facility. The majority of the 1,000 workers, however, will have to begin looking for new jobs.

The sirens, once to be used to warn of a major accident with the chemical agents, will now be shipped to the Oregon coast to warn of possible tsunamis, reports.

“As we move closer to eliminating the Umatilla stockpile safely and compliantly, we are continuing to plan our closure activities,” Gary Anderson, the UMCDF Army Site Project Manager, said, reports. “Continuity of our safety culture from operations to closure is of paramount importance and critical to our continued success.”