MADISON COUNTY — Crews at the Blue Grass Army Depot detected a chemical weapon leak Monday, October 28th, within one of the storage igloos at the base. The vapor leak of the GB round was contained within the igloo and was not detected in the air outside the structure, according to a news release from Blue Grass Chemical Activity spokesperson Jana Felts.
The release was detected by a mobile monitoring laboratory during routine analysis of the atmosphere within the igloo, Felts said in the release. A powered filter has been connected to the igloo to ensure the leak does not enter the outside atmosphere, she added.
Felts said the next step to ensure safety is to determine which round in the igloo has developed the leak. It will then be “overpacked,” or placed within a larger, sealed container. The leaking munition then be moved to a separate igloo, and follow-on monitoring will be conducted, she said, by Blue Grass Chemical Activity toxic material crews. Since Follow-on monitoring has been conducted for three consecutive days with negative results; therefore, closing the event. The community and environment were never at risk.
GB, also known sarin, is a nerve agent that is stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot along with VX and mustard gas munitions. The 523 tons of chemical weapons are slated for destruction by 2021.
Madison County Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program Director Michael Bryant said the county’s emergency management agency was alerted when the vapor was detected, and area police departments, fire departments and EMS agencies also were notified along with the other CSEPP counties. In addition, Commonwealth of Kentucky Emergency Management Agencies as well as the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection were kept informed during all aspects of operations. Every day the county’s emergency management staff is given in a “morning brief” in which they are informed about the day’s activities at the depot, Bryant said. “We know exactly what they’re doing each day,”Bryant said. Bryant said this is the first GB vapor leak at the depot in several years.