Issue Date: April 13, 2009
Army Halts Mustard Destruction In Utah
Destruction of mustard-agent-filled mortars at the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, in Utah, was stopped last week when higher than expected levels of mercury where measured in emissions. Although the mercury emissions were within permitted limits, the Army said in a statement that it is "committed to ensuring maximum protection of the environment" and has delayed further processing of the mortars. The recent campaign to destroy mustard agent in the 4.2-inch cartridges began on April 1. The Army plans to resume processing these mortars once a new sulfur-impregnated charcoal emission filter system designed to capture mercury from furnace flue gases has been installed and tested. Currently, the Tooele facility has destroyed more than 50% of its mustard stockpile. According to Army estimates, the depot has neutralized 78% of its total stockpile of chemical weapons agents. The Army plans to complete neutralization of all chemical weapons, including Tabun nerve agent and Lewisite blister agent, remaining at the Tooele depot by fall 2011.
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