Report allows for chemical weapon destruction at Pueblo

A recent report by the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot and the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program said that there would be no environmental impact from a plan to destroy some of the facility's chemical weapons.

The plan to install and operate explosive destruction equipment at the Colo.-based depot would have no environmental effects that are significant, according to the report. The explosive destruction technology will supplement the under-construction Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, the Pueblo Chieftain reports.

The EDT facility will destroy a limited part of the depot's chemical munitions inventory that could pose a problem if destroyed in the main plant. While most of the 780,000 mustard agent munitions will be neutralized in the main facility, up to 13,000 weapons may require neutralization using a different method.

To this point, 540 weapons were found to be leaking or to have other issues that prevented water-based destruction. Bechtel, the contractor hired by the Army, will pick from various technologies to heat or explode the weapons in a contained area, according to the Pueblo Chieftain.

An environmental assessment was completed in April to meet National Environmental Policy Act requirements. A draft of the assessment found no significant environmental impact and public comments were accepted. The Army said no further analysis is required.