HERMISTON, Ore. (AP) — All that's left of the contaminated plant that destroyed some of the nation's deadliest nerve and chemical agents is some paperwork.
Cleanup and demolition of the chemical incineration plant at the Umatilla Chemical Depot near Hermiston, Oregon, is done.
Still to be done is the documentation for the state of Oregon to show that cleanup work is finished to the requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. That should be completed in early 2015.
The plant was used to destroy 220,604 munitions and 3,720 tons of chemical agent, including GB and VX nerve agent and mustard blister agent. They had been stored at the depot since the 1960s.
When incineration operations were completed in October 2011, the plant employed about 830 workers, many of whom commuted from the Tri-Cities in Washington state. Several rounds of layoffs have been held since then.
This week, 27 positions will be cut, but only 19 people will be laid off because some people already have moved on to other jobs.
That will leave 25 employees. URS Corp. holds the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility contract, as well as contracts at Hanford.
Most of those 25 will leave the payroll Dec. 18. The remaining five or six employees will likely move to URS offices in Richland, Washington.
The "closure complete" declaration announced Monday by URS marks the end of demolition and a sampling campaign to verify that contaminants have been removed to standards to allow for future industrial use.
The main incineration plant and its pollution abatement systems and piping have been demolished, and its support structures have been removed down to 20 feet below ground, said Hal McCune, URS protocol manager.
Several support buildings, such as the medical building and maintenance and office building, remain standing for possible reuse.
The area where the plant stood is a gravel lot and the fence around the plant remains standing.
To verify that the cleanup is done, 1,300 samples of air, water and concrete were collected before and after demolition.
Workers chipped out samples of concrete in places where it will remain for possible reuse, including sidewalks and the pad where closed transportation containers were brought into the plant.