2004 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 3 Feb 2004 03:56:12 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Moving nerve gas waste is criticized
Moving nerve gas waste is criticized
Army planning to dispose of Indiana VX stockpiles, possibly using Md.
By Heather Dewar
Originally published February 2, 2004

Sometime this summer, tanker trucks filled with a caustic chemical soup
of leftovers from a lethal chemical warfare agent will begin rolling
through the Mid-Atlantic region on a 900-mile journey from an Army
storage depot in Indiana to a treatment plant in Deepwater, N.J.

At least two 4,000-gallon tankers loaded with breakdown products from
the nerve agent VX - a slurry of lye, water and the weapon's original
man-made ingredients - will leave the Newport Chemical Depot every day,
seven days a week for more than a year under a new Army disposal plan.

The tankers will travel by yet-to-be-determined routes to a DuPont
chemical waste treatment plant just north of the Delaware Memorial
Bridge, according to a DuPont spokesman. There, the slurry would go
through a multistage treatment process before the last remaining wastes
are discharged into the Delaware River.

This is the Army's second attempt to get rid of Newport's VX. A similar
proposal alarmed officials in Ohio, where intense local opposition
scotched plans to dispose of the material in Dayton. In New Jersey and
neighboring Delaware, environmental groups and members of Congress are
peppering the Army with questions and concerns.

"We want to see the stockpile of VX destroyed," said John M. Kearney,
director of Delaware's Clean Air Council, "but safety should be the top
priority. There's risks in transport, storage and handling all the way
along the path, and we feel the risks outweigh the benefits."

The VX dispute is the latest example of the problems that arise when the
Army tries to get rid of some of the world's most dangerous weapons.
International law requires the United States to destroy its chemical
stockpiles, stored at seven sites nationwide, including Maryland's
Aberdeen Proving Ground.

The government sped up plans to destroy the weapons after the attacks of
Sept. 11, 2001, fearing they would become terrorist targets. Now the
Army must quickly make a complex set of calculations involving
experimental chemistry, the odds of an accident - and eventually local

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