They can’t be seen and usually don’t smell. They can kill or maim— small doses dispersed in the air can choke or blister thousands. They sit a few miles from Lexington in Richmond. But not for much longer.
Chemical weapons stored in Madison County since the 1940s are set to be destroyed starting in June — after decades of planning, billionsof government dollars and significant anxiety of some workers and area residents.
You can’t throw thousands of shells and rockets with such poisons in the trash or blow them up. Accident-free disposal of mustard, sarin and VX requires complex procedures to minimize danger. Here are six things you need to know, according to information supplied by Blue Grass Chemical Activity and Blue Grass Army Depot.
HOW MANY CHEMICAL WEAPONS ARE STORED?
Blue Grass Chemical Activity, the agency responsible for the safekeeping of chemical weapons stored at the 15,000-acre Blue Grass Army Depot, oversees 523 tons of mustard and nerve agents on 250 acres.
More than 101,000 chemical-filled munitions are stored in earth-covered igloos designed to protect the agents from weather or to contain the chemicals should any escape from the aging rockets and artillery shells.
More than 1,200 employees are working to eradicate the weapons by 2023.
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