According to Military.com, the Pueblo Chemical Depot, which is a chemical weapons storage site in Pueblo County, Colorado, is currently in the process of destroying 780,000 shells containing 2,500 tons of sulfur mustard. The cause of the leak that caused the shutdown in the first place is still under investigation, according to officials.
Sulfur mustard is a chemical warfare agent that causes blistering of the skin and mucous membranes, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) writes on its website. The chemical, which is also known as “mustard gas” or “mustard agent,” sometimes smells like garlic, onions or mustard. It can be a vapor, oily-textured liquid or a solid.
The Pueblo Chemical Depot is one of two sites in the US containing chemical munitions and chemical weapon material, the other being the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky.
The Pueblo Chemical Depot, which reports to the US Army Chemical Materials Activity, is responsible for safely storing chemical weapons in a stockpile in Colorado.
“The Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives is the Department of Defense (DoD) program responsible for the destruction of chemical weapons in Colorado. Working in partnership with the community, the Army selected neutralization followed by biotreatment to destroy the chemical weapons stockpile at Pueblo Chemical Depot,” the US Army Chemical Materials Activity writes on its website.
Since it started operating in 2016, the plant has eradicated 132,000 shells and 774 tons of sulfur mustard.