Tooele County Deseret Chemical Depot closes

Posted at 1:37 PM, Jul 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-11 22:36:08-04

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah -- The Deseret Chemical Depot closed its doors Thursday, handing the keys over to the Tooele Army Depot.

According to a press release, for the past 70 years the Deseret Chemical Depot safely stored, maintained and secured what was once the largest chemical weapons stockpile in the nation. The destruction of the entire stockpile of 13,567 tons of agent took nearly 16 years, and was completed in January of 2012.

Richard Trujillo's father came to work at the depot back in 1944, and seven decades later, Trujillo joined his colleagues in closing a memorable chapter of his life.

"It had a theater, library, bowling alley, gymnasium, I mean it was a complete town," Trujillo said. "Back in the early 40s, it was a state of the art installation. It had aged roads, electric lights, hot and cold running water where actually the rest of the valley was still kind of oil lamps."

Officials said they pride themselves on carrying out their mission safely, but regret having to let go of hundreds of dedicated employees over the years.

"Our target was to protect the public, protect our workforce, destroy and store them safely, and in a very environmentally compliant manner, and I think we achieved that," said Don Barclay with the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency.

The Tooele Army Depot will take over the facility, and will use it to store conventional weapons.