By Megan Pettey
The Blue Grass Chemical-Agent Destruction Pilot Plant began destroying the last type of chemical weapons stored at an Army depot in Kentucky on July 6.
The Blue Grass Army Depot originally stored more than 523 tons of mustard gas and nerve agents in rockets and projectiles accumulated between 1943 and 1969.
The Army formally proposed incineration as the best method to destroy the weapons in 1986, which triggered outcry from area residents due to environmental and health risks. The Army abandoned plans for incineration in 2002, following the requests of local advocates to instead use safer technology to neutralize the chemicals.
The pilot plant began operating in 2019 and has since destroyed nearly 247 tons of chemical agents.
“Currently the program has completed destroying 4 of the 5 types of weapons containing nerve agents, with a completion date scheduled for September 2023,” says Craig Williams, program director of the Kentucky Environmental Foundation.