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Boone, Avondale to Hold Chem-Demil Meetings

July 20, 2008

By John Norton, The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.

Jul. 20–Public meetings on the next phase of the Defense Department’s effort to destroy Pueblo’s stockpile of chemical weapons will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in Boone and Avondale.

The Tuesday session will be at the Boone Community Center and Wednesday’s will be at the McHarg Community Center in Avondale.

Since the Pentagon’s Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program got started, officials have been working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to have the project approved in phases. The next phase would grant the ACWA program and contract Bechtel a class 3 permit modification for hazardous waste research, development and demonstration, allowing the construction of the plant where the 2,100 tons of mustard agent will be neutralized and the waste either shipped off for final treatment or treated on site.

It also will permit construction of other buildings where explosives will be removed and some leaking weapons that have been placed in steel containers will be handled.

Another modification will be needed when the plant is ready to start processing weapons. There are 780,000 artillery shells and mortar rounds in the igloos in one section of the Pueblo Chemical Depot. Dating back to World War II, the weapons are part of a shrinking U.S. stockpile gradually being destroyed under the terms of an international treaty calling for the destruction of chemical weapons. The public comment period runs through Aug. 11. Anyone with concerns can submit them to Doug Knappe, Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver, CO 80246-1530.

The e-mail address is Doug.Knappe@state.co.us and the phone is 1-888-569-1831, ext. 3414.

The draft permit modification also is available online at the state health department Web site. The file would be too large to download with drawings so the file is text only. A compact disk can be provided for those who want to see all the graphics.

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ON THE NET

Chemical Demilitarization draft permit: http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/pcd/adminrecord.htm

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.

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