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Utahns relieved destruction of chemical weapons is complete

Military » Former critic says, “They contributed to peace.”

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At a glance

Depot workers will be phased out; non-stockpiled weapons remain

The 1,400 workers at Deseret Chemical Depot — an estimated 1,100 working for contractors and the rest for the U.S. Army — will lose their jobs in phases as the demilitarization facility is shut down and demolished. Command of the depot will be turned back over to Tooele Army Depot in mid-2013, and only a handful of employees will remain by 2014.

Destruction of the nation’s chemical weapons stockpile is mandated by an international treaty among 188 nations. The Utah depot, which had by far the largest stockpile, met the April 29 deadline, but two other plants are still under construction, so the United States will be in violation of the treaty.

Still remaining at the depot are informal dumps where weapons and debris were burned over the decades before the environmental hazards were recognized. Those non-stockpiled weapons were not declared under the treaty. The Army plans to begin cleaning up the surface pollution at two sites this spring, and will investigate for any underground pollution.

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