US plan for destroying chemical weapons in Southern Colorado clears legal hurdle

In this 2015 file photo, an ordnance technician uses a robot to to handle inert simulated chemical munitions used for training at the Pueblo Chemical Depot, east of Pueblo, in southern Colorado. 

PUEBLO — The Army has resumed destruction of obsolete chemical weapons in southern Colorado after a shutdown prompted by liquid hazardous waste seeping from a storage tank.

Officials say the work resumed Wednesday when another tank was returned to service. The cause of the seep is under investigation.

Pueblo Chemical Depot is destroying 780,000 shells containing 2,500 U.S. tons of mustard agent.

Officials say the liquid that seeped out is a byproduct of the process and contained no chemical weapons. They say less than 8 ounces escaped the tank.

Mustard blisters skin, scars eyes and inflames airways. The U.S. is destroying it under a treaty banning chemical weapons.

Since starting in 2016, the plant has eradicated 132,000 shells and 774 U.S. tons of mustard.

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