Deseret Chemical Depot
The Deseret Chemical Depot is a U.S. Army chemical weapon storage area located in Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

, 60 miles (100 km) southwest of Salt Lake City. It is related to the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility
Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility
The Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility or TOCDF, is a U.S. Army facility located at Deseret Chemical Depot in Tooele County, Utah and is used for dismantling chemical weapons. Destruction is a requirement under the Chemical Weapons Convention and is monitored by the Organisation for the...



The area has been used to store chemical weapons since 1942 and weapons destruction began in August 1996 at the Depot which held, at that time, 45% of the total U.S. stockpile. After initial demilitarization operations concerning the Weteye bomb
Weteye bomb
The Weteye bomb was a U.S. chemical weapon designed for the U.S. Navy and meant to deliver the nerve agent sarin. The Weteye held 160 kg of liquid sarin and was officially known as the Mk 116...

 concluded a total of 888 of those bombs were left in storage at Rocky Mountain Arsenal. After rounds of protests from residents of Utah, the state's governor, and legal action the munitions were transferred to what was then known as Tooele Army Depot
Tooele Army Depot
Tooele Army Depot is a United States Army post located in Tooele County, Utah. It serves as a storage site for war reserve and training ammunition. The depot stores, issues, receives, renovates, modifies, maintains and demilitarizes conventional munitions...

 South Area. The first transfer of Weteyes took place in August 1981 and the moves continued for three weeks. After these transfers the South Area became known as Deseret Chemical Depot.

Disposal operations

, 7,593 tons
Short ton
The short ton is a unit of mass equal to . In the United States it is often called simply ton without distinguishing it from the metric ton or the long ton ; rather, the other two are specifically noted. There are, however, some U.S...

 (6,888 metric tons) of chemical weapons have been destroyed using incineration. All GB
Sarin, or GB, is an organophosphorus compound with the formula [2CHO]CH3PF. It is a colorless, odorless liquid, which is used as a chemical weapon. It has been classified as a weapon of mass destruction in UN Resolution 687...

 (sarin) was destroyed by March 2002 and all VX
VX (nerve agent)
VX, IUPAC name O-ethyl S-[2-ethyl] methylphosphonothioate, is an extremely toxic substance whose only application is in chemical warfare as a nerve agent. As a chemical weapon, it is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations in UN Resolution 687...

 by June 2005. In 2006, the facility was changed-over to handle destruction of mustard gas in ton-sized containers. By March 15, 2009, 3,216 ton containers and 54,453 projectiles of mustard gas had been destroyed (51.5% of Deseret's mustard agent stockpile). The last explosively configured mustard gas munition was reported destroyed in May 2010. All Tabun
Tabun (nerve agent)
Tabun or GA is an extremely toxic chemical substance. It is a clear, colorless, and tasteless liquid with a faint fruity odor. It is classified as a nerve agent because it fatally interferes with normal functioning of the mammalian nervous system...

 (GA) was destroyed by November 10, 2011. Disposal of mustard gas containing land mines as well as a small stockpile of Lewisite
Lewisite is an organoarsenic compound, specifically an arsine. It was once manufactured in the U.S. and Japan as a chemical weapon, acting as a vesicant and lung irritant...

 has not been completed. All disposal operations are projected to be concluded by Fall 2011.

Unknown intruder

At 9:24 AM UTC-07, September 5, 2002, officials at the depot triggered the Terrorist Alert Warning System in response to an unidentified intruder being spotted near an old pioneer cemetery, located within the secured perimeter of the depot. The cemetery is roughly a mile north of the incinerator on a hilltop. It was the first time that the alarm, which alerts employees to possible terror threats, had been sounded since new security measures were instituted after 9/11. As soon as the alert was sounded, area schools were notified of a possible terror threat.

Due to the proximity of the date of the intrusion to the September 11th attacks the year before, security was even higher than normal, and it was initially reported to KSL-TV
KSL-TV, virtual channel 5, is an NBC-affiliated television station located in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. KSL-TV is owned by Bonneville International Corporation, which is in turn owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...

 in Salt Lake City, Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

 that units from the 145th Field Artillery
Field artillery
Field artillery is a category of mobile artillery used to support armies in the field. These weapons are specialized for mobility, tactical proficiency, long range, short range and extremely long range target engagement....

 group, a part of the Utah National Guard
Utah National Guard
The Utah National Guard consists of the:* Utah Army National Guard**19th Special Forces Group **85th WMD CST**97th Troop Command**115th Engineer Group **211th Aviation Group**300th MI Brigade **640th Regiment...

, had the intruder surrounded. Army officials later stated the trespasser, who was dressed in dark clothing and fled when sighted by four different soldiers during two different patrols, had escaped the depot. Despite the immediate setting up of roadblocks and a combined search by Army units and helicopters, no trace of the intruder was found. Officials emphasized that the intruder was not in the area where chemical weapons were stored, but "unsettling questions remain" about his intentions, as there was no evidence of anything being stolen or that terrorism was in fact involved.

Further reading

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