Issue Date: September 7, 2009
Army's Chemical Agent Disposal Plant Is Closed
The Army chemical weapons disposal plant on a tiny coral island in the Pacific about 825 miles southwest of Hawaii has been properly cleaned and permanently closed, EPA said last week. The Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System facility was used to destroy more than 4 million lb of toxic nerve gas and blister agents between 1990 and 2000. The munitions, which dated back to World War II, were collected from U.S. military bases in the Pacific Basin and West Germany between 1971 and 1991. The closure, cleanup, and dismantling effort, which took approximately three years, involved cleaning and removing all hazardous wastes, equipment, and systems used for the disposal operations. After completing a multiyear review, EPA said the Army had met all of its permit requirements for shutting down the facility. "Our closure decision brings a successful end to this project to safely dispose of toxic chemical weapons while protecting the former workers and wildlife on Johnston Atoll," said Jeff Scott, director of EPA's Pacific Southwest Region's Waste Management Division.
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