Friday, February 5, 2010

Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility

This was only part of the task...

Each of the weapons listed contained the chemical agent GB (also known as Sarin)

28,945 – 115 mm self-propelled rockets (M55) containing 154.86 short tons
1,056 – M56 warheads, which are M55 rockets without the rocket motor containing 5.65 tons
119,400 – 105 mm cartridges (M360) containing 97.31 tons
679,303 – 105 mm projectiles (M360) containing 553.63 tons
67,685 – 155 mm projectiles (M121/A1) containing 219.98 tons
21,456 – 155 mm projectiles (M122) containing 69.73 tons
888 – Weteye Bombs containing 154.07 tons
4,463 – 750-pound bombs (MC-1) containing 490.93 tons
5,709 – Ton Containers containing 4,299.10 tons

All GB, totaling 6,045.26 tons was disposed of by March 2002.

And the items include VX agent, Mustard Agent, and assorted explosives. I am referring to the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility [aka Tooele Chemical Demilitarization Facility] in Tooele County, Utah.

Deseret Chemical Depot (DCD)
Tooele, Utah

The Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, located at the Deseret Chemical Depot 22 miles south of Tooele, Utah, is designed to dispose of 13,616 tons, or approximately 44.5 percent of the original US stockpile of chemical weapons. The Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility is the first full-scale facility in the continental United States built to destroy chemical weapons and agent. As of June 1998, the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility has destroyed over three million pounds of chemical agent, or approximately 13 percent of the US stockpile of chemical weapons since the beginning of operations in August 1996. In 2005, however, DoD recommended to close Deseret chemical depot as part of its BRAC Recommendations (see below for details).

The TEAD headquarters area is a 25,172 acre installation located 35 miles west of Salt Lake City. Originally named the Tooele Ordnance Depot (TOD), it was established at Tooele, Utah, as a World War II Ordnance Corps installation in 1942. Construction of the TEAD facilities was completed in 1943. Originally the north area was known as the Tooele Ordnance Depot, which functioned as a storage depot for World War II supplies, ammunition, and combat vehicles. Originally constructed as an ordnance depot, TOD began operations as a storage, supply, and repair depot in March 1947. In 1949 TEAD assumed command of the Desert Chemical Depot, now known as TEAD South Area. TOD was later transferred from the jurisdiction of the Chief of Ordnance to that of the Commanding General, U.S. Army Materiel Command, effective August 1, 1962 and was renamed Tooele Army Depot.

The depot currently retains only the conventional ammunition storage, maintenance and demilitarization portions of its mission. TEAD was listed on the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list in 1993. Recommendations were to close and transfer the Maintenance and Supply missions by 1999. This was accomplished almost 4 years ahead of schedule due to "fast tracking". TEAD is now actively engaged in transferring the 1,707 acre BRAC parcel to the Tooele City Local Reuse Authority (LRA). During the realignment, the Depot downsized from over 3,000 employees to 624 employees.

There are three main missions at Tooele Army Depot (TEAD), a subordinate activity of the Industrial Operations Command in Rock Island, Illinois. These missions include Ammunition Operations; Ammunition Equipment Design and Development; and Rail Shop Maintenance and on-site support. Additionally, base operations support is provided to activities and tenants. Ammunition storage capabilities at TEAD are one of the largest in the United States. TEAD is one of four Tier I ammunition depots which receive, store, issue, renovate, modify, maintain and destroy conventional munitions for all Department of Defense services. TEAD is the Western Region Tier I Ammunition Depot.

In addition to the three main mission areas, Tooele Army Depot provides base operations support for TEAD, the Deseret Chemical Depot (DCD), the Tooele Chemical Demilitarization Facility (TOCDF), the Chemical Agent Munitions Disposal System (CAMDS) and their activities. Forty-two percent of US stockpile of chemical weapons and agent is stored here at the South Area of the Tooele Army Depot, approximately 12 miles from Tooele, Utah. The majority of these weapons; bombs, mines, mortar rounds, rockets, spray tanks, and artillery projectiles; are stored both with and without their explosive components. They are in earth-covered igloos in a secure storage area next to the disposal facility. The stockpile stored at Deseret Chemical Depot consists of spray tanks, cartridges, projectiles, rockets, bombs, large bulk containers, and mines containing the nerve agents GA, GB, and VX. The blister agents mustard and lewisite are stored in the stockpile as well. The storage of the depot’s stockpile is overseen by the US Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command, who is charged with monitoring the storage.

The Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility is the first full-scale facility in the continental United States built to destroy chemical weapons and agent. Situated on 27 acres, the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility is a state-of-the-art engineered facility with specially designed weapons handling processes, remote-controlled disposal equipment, complex control systems, and detailed procedures and training to protect the workers and the environment. More than 2,000 pieces of remote-controlled equipment are housed here. Electrical wire - 840 miles of it - winds it way through the complex. There are 33 miles of piping and 16,000 valves and instruments lining the plant. The technology used in the plant is based on years of experience and advances developed from operating the Chemical Agent Munitions Disposal System, a test facility also located at Deseret Chemical Depot, and the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System.
BRAC 2005

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to close Deseret Chemical Depot, UT. It would transfer the storage igloos and magazines to Tooele Army Depot, UT. There was no additional chemical demilitarization workload slated to go to Deseret Chemical Depot. The projected date for completion of its existing workload was 2nd quarter of 2008. Because of the close proximity of Deseret Chemical Depot to Tooele Army Depot, the sophistication of the security system, the number and conditions of igloos and magazines, this recommendation would increase the storage and distribution deployment network capability at Tooele Army Depot at a minimal cost.

The total one time cost to the Department of Defense to implement this recommendation would be $4.4M. The net of all costs and savings to the Department during the implementation period would be a savings of $65.1M. Annual recurring savings to the Department after implementation would be $30.3M with a payback expected immediately. The Net present value of the costs and savings to the Department over 20 years would be a savings of $356.4M. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 391 jobs (248 direct jobs and 143 indirect jobs) over the 2006 – 2011 period in the Salt Lake City, UT metropolitan statistical area, which is less than 0.1 percent). Environmentally, surveys and consultation with the SHPO would be required to determine disposition of archaeological and historical resources. Continued management and or deed restrictions would be necessary to ensure future protection of the federally listed species. Restoration, monitoring, access control, and deed restrictions might be required for former waste management areas to prevent disturbance, health and safety risks, and/or long term release of toxins to environmental media. Restoration and monitoring of contaminated sites would likely be required after closure to prevent significant long-term impacts to the environment. This recommendation would require spending approximately $1.3M for environmental compliance activities. Deseret Chemical Depot reported approximately $66.9M in environmental restoration costs, which DoD would have a legal obligation to pay regardless of whether an installation is closed, realigned, or remains open.

What a high cost for security!

Review and Assessment of Closure Plans for the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility and the Chemical Agent Munition Disposal System: Letter Report

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