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SwRI awarded contract at Umatilla plant

SwRI to monitor chemical agent destruction

San Antonio -- May 19, 1997 -- Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) , under subcontract to Raytheon Demilitarization Company, Philadelphia, has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Army Armament, Munitions, and Chemical Command to monitor the destruction of aging munitions stored at the Army's Umatilla Chemical Depot in Oregon. The Institute will receive $43 million of $566.8 million earmarked for the Umatilla plant.

Raytheon will build and operate the demilitarization plant, where chemical agents and explosives will be destroyed in five incinerators. The plant is expected to begin operations in just under five years, after the construction and operational testing phases are complete.

The Institute will provide 80 full-time staff members to continuously monitor the air inside and immediately outside the plant, as well as plant effluent and the plant's perimeter, for the presence of chemical agents.

Dr. Michael G. MacNaughton, director of Environmental Engineering at SwRI, says the Institute's main role will be to protect the health and safety of those working at the plant and those living in the surrounding communities.

"A comprehensive monitoring plan is being prepared for approval by the state's department of environmental quality," he explained. "This plan will establish the type and frequency of samples that will be collected and analyzed to ensure compliance with environmental and safety standards.

"While construction of the demilitarization facility is under way," he continued, "the Institute will draw up a set of detailed operating procedures with which to implement the monitoring plan. After the plant is functional, extensive testing will be conducted to verify that plant operations are safe and effective."

The Institute has performed a similar role since 1987 on Johnston Island in the Pacific with the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Demilitarization System (JACADS). JACADS personnel provide continuous monitoring, sampling, and chemical analysis services during the incineration of aging weapons stored on the island, an operation which is overseen by the Army and several federal agencies.

For more information about SwRI's involvement in the Army's Umatilla Chemical Depot in Oregon, contact Deborah Deffenbaugh, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, P.O. Drawer 28510, San Antonio, Texas 78228-0510, Phone (210) 522-2046 , Fax (210) 522-3547.

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