Blue Grass Army Depot says chemical weapon destruction plant’s secondary waste disposal ahead of schedule

Originally published by WEKU.

Members of the Kentucky Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission and the Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board met Wednesday to hear an update on the Blue Grass Army Depot’s chemical weapons destruction plant closing operations.

Depot representatives say the plant’s focus of destroying secondary waste is coming along ahead of schedule.

As of this week, 21 percent of drained VX warheads – or 3,749 of 17,739 total – have been destroyed, alongside 30 percent of the plant’s drained GB warheads, or 15,649 out of 51,059.

The main plant is also nearly decontaminated and all demilitarization equipment has been removed from its Munitions Demilitarization Building.

This comes after the main mission of destroying the chemical weapons stockpile at the plant was finished last July. It was the last stockpile in the nation to be fully destroyed.

Ron Hink is the project manager at Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass and in charge of the teams responsible for the plant’s closure. He says the fast pace is because of how clean the plant was before the decontamination process.

“It’s just because there’s just less material we have to work with as processing, Hink said. “So we’re being rewarded for running the clean operation, which is, I think, the way it should be, if you do the right thing, you should get rewarded.”

But that also comes with staff drawdowns. 57 workers left the plant last month as part of regular cutbacks, with staff now numbering 1,277 workers.

“July, we’ve got another reduction of 45 to 50 (workers),” Hink said. “But it’s not until the March, May time frame of 2025 that we see the most significant adjustments so far. That’s about 175.”

A local job fair is planned for April 24-25 to help the workforce transition.

The Depot has also scheduled a public meeting 2 p.m. April 10 at the Madison County Joint Information Center. It’s meant for locals to learn about the Depot’s open burn and open detonation operations.

** WEKU is working hard to be a leading source for public service, and fact-based journalism. Monthly supporters are the top funding source for this growing nonprofit news organization. Please join others in your community who support WEKU by making your donation.

Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.