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 — An Army facility here has temporarily stopped destroying obsolete chemical weapons because of liquid hazardous waste seeping from a storage tank.

Officials said Thursday the liquid is a byproduct of the destruction process at the Pueblo Chemical Depot and contains no chemical weapons. They say less than 8 ounces seeped out.

The seepage was discovered May 15. The cause is under investigation.

Destruction is expected to resume in mid-June.

The depot is eradicating a stockpile of 780,000 shells containing 2,500 U.S. tons of mustard agent.

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

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

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