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Army missteps handling chemical weapon disposal plant

Matthew D. LaPlante of The Salt Lake Tribune found that the U.S. Army made several errors in its attempts to dispose of Utah's stockpile of lewisite, a now-illegal agent similar to mustard gas used in chemical warfare.  Lewisite can be disposed of in two ways: by incineration, which can release arsenic into the air without the right filters; or by neutralization, a process supported by most environmental groups, which disposes of the chemical by dissolving its components in hot water. After building a multi-million dollar plant to neutralize the chemical, the Army incorrectly found that the neutralization process was ineffective and tore down the plant a few years later.

Now many are balking at the Army's plans to build a properly-filtered incineration plant in the same area. The Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah is calling for the Army to rebuild the neutralization plant, which they see as a safer practice.

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