Official: No Impact From Destroying Mustard Rounds

Jul 15, 2013

RICHMOND, Ky. -- An environmental study has concluded that using Explosive Detonation Technology, or EDT, to dispose of aging mustard rounds at the Blue Grass Army Depot would not cause any “significant impacts” on the community. The public will have a chance to comment on the finding Tuesday.

The more than 15,000 mustard rounds have been housed at the depot since the ’40s, causing the some of the agent inside the projectiles to solidify. For that reason, officials say the neutralization process to be used in the depot’s main facility is not feasible. Craig Williams, director of the Chemical Weapons Working Group, says manually separating the parts would also pose risks.

"Because of their deteriorated condition, it's difficult to disassemble them and drain the agent and it puts the workforce at a significantly greater risk if they have to manually take these things apart," Williams says.

Instead, Williams says the Working Group agrees with the environmental assessment that exploding the weapons inside specially designed devices with two walls of thick steel is workable, provided the method is properly examined, permits are in place, and the community is educated and has a chance to weigh in.  

To that end, Richmond residents will be able to attend a public meeting on the plans Tuesday and comment on them through July 24th.