PUEBLO, Colo. - Nearly 400 more people are needed to destroy chemical weapons at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot.
The depot has been storing stockpiles of mustard agent since 1942. Now, the depot is hiring people to help destroy them.
Beginning in 2015, weapons carrying mustard agent will be brought by conveyor belt into the depot's explosive containment room. There, the weapons will be dismantled by machines.
"One of the reasons that we don't allow personnel in this room while we're processing is due to the nature of the explosives that are in the weapon," said Kim Jackson, operations manager.
It will take about four years to completely destroy all the mustard agent inside the munitions. But before that can begin, employees will have to go through six to nine months of training.
Jackson said, "The big concern with mustard agent is a dermal hazard so if they get it on their skin, they could end up with a mustard blister which we would have to treat."
Jackson says long-term exposure could cause damage to the eyes and other organs. She says that's why employees operating the munitions will be doing so from the control room.
"The control room will be the central point of all operations," said Bryan Greasor, area supervisor.
Greasor says he's looking for more control-room operators to eventually run the machines. Engineers and waste management experts are also needed, as new equipment continues to be brought in and tested.
"We're just in the phase where we are doing the loop checks, so what we're actually just doing is making sure that the equipment in the field does read back to the control room as we expect it to," Greasor said.
Even though the plant is not ready to operate, training for new hires has already started. For information on how to apply for a job at the depot, visit: https://pueblo.bechtel.com/default.aspx