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Demolition Of Oregon Chemical Weapons Site On Schedule

US Army

Just as international talks ramp up about chemical weapons in Syria, the last remaining signs of similar deadly munitions in the Northwest are going away.

At the Umatilla Chemical Depot in northeastern Oregon, contractors recently started ripping down the massive plant that incinerated sarin, VX and mustard agent there.

“It’s sort of sad and bittersweet to see employees go," says Hal McCune, spokesman for the chemical disposal facility. "We had 830 employees when we were fully processing in the munitions phase. We’re down now to 165 employees.”

McCune says contractors expect to finish tearing down the incineration plant in February. The facility destroyed more than 3,700 tons of deadly chemicals.

In the end, cleanup of deadly weapons at the Umatilla Depot will cost U.S. taxpayers $3.5 billion.

On the Web:

Umatilla Chemical Depot - US Army

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.