Contractor fined for violations at chemical depot

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The state has issued $111,000 in penalties against the Army contractor destroying weapons at the Umatilla Chemical Depot near Hermiston.

The Army stores chemical weapons at the 20,000-acre site on the border of Morrow and Umatilla counties. The Washington Demilitarization Company destroys the weapons at an on-site facility it operates. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued the fines for carbon monoxide and waste management violations of the facility's hazardous waste and air quality permits.

A DEQ news release said the violations occurred at the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility between May and October of this year during the "shakedown" period of fine-tuning furnaces prior to trial burns of mustard agent and normal mustard agent incineration.

The contractor reported the violations to the DEQ, the news release said, and is working with the state on correcting the problems, which the DEQ factored into its assessment of the fines.

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