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Buildings keep tumbling at Utah’s chemical weapons depot

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(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Work is beginning to demolish structures at the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, seen here in this 2009 photo. From 1945 to the 1970's munitions and chemicals were "stored" in open trenches. Contaminated metal was stored in barrells in a site on the property. The incinerator in the background was used for over a decade to dispose of the nation's nerve gas stockpile.

By nate carlisle

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Mar 20 2014 11:54AM
Updated Mar 20, 2014 10:42PM

Demolition of the former Deseret Chemical Depot is progressing and may even be slightly ahead of schedule, according to an update provided Thursday.

Demolition crews recently tore down a 90-foot tall, 200-foot wide structure used to cool and clean exhaust gases from the furnaces that helped destroy such weapons as mustard gas and nerve agents including sarin, Tabun and VX, according to the written update the project’s contractor provided.

The update said the demolition is expected to be completed by the end of August. When work began to destroy buildings in January, it was predicted demolition would take nine months.

The depot once stored the chemical weapons, but the U.S. Army began destroying them in 1996 to comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention. The last mustard gas-filled munition was destroyed at the depot in 2010 and the last bulk mustard gas was destroyed a year later.

The property last year was transferred to the control of the nearby Tooele Army Depot and given the new designation as that depot’s South Area.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com

Twitter: @natecarlisle

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