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U.S. EPA APPROVES INCINERATION PERMIT CHANGE FOR JOHNSTON ATOLL

 SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today approved the U.S. Army's request to allow the Army's Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS) to destroy a stockpile of chemical weapons brought from West Germany to Johnston Island in 1990, plus a smaller shipment brought from the Solomon Islands in 1991. Johnston Island, where JACADS is located, lies 717 nautical miles west-southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii.
 Under JACADS' existing permit for hazardous waste treatment and disposal, the facility can only process chemical weapons that were already on the island in 1985. The proposed revision of the permit would allow incineration of the German stockpile, which consists of about 100,000 artillery shells, plus incineration of an additional 100 U.S.-made World War II-era mustard gas shells found in the Solomon Islands in 1988 and brought to Johnston Island in 1991. The shells would be dismantled and the components fed to JACADS' four specialized incinerators, which are designed to destroy chemical agents through high- temperature burning.
 U.S. EPA has determined that the permit revision will not increase risks to human health or the environment. The ongoing destruction of the chemical agents by incineration reduces the risk of accidental releases from aging chemical weapons stockpiles.
 The Army estimates that within three to four years, incineration at JACADS will render harmless the stockpile of obsolete chemical weapons which have been stored at Johnston Atoll since 1971. Processing of chemical weapons at the site began in June 1990.
 -0- 9/8/93
 /CONTACT: Dave Schmidt of the U.S. EPA, 415-744-1578/


CO: U.S. EPA ST: Hawaii, California IN: CHM SU:

PK -- SF013 -- 9970 09/08/93 16:25 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 8, 1993
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