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Perma-Fix details its role in nerve agent destruction

Company to treat by-product

By Dale Dempsey
e-mail address: dale_dempsey@coxohio.com
Dayton Daily News

As a dozen protesters wore surgical masks and carried signs across the street, a Jefferson Twp. company began a public outreach program Monday to explain its role in a U.S. Army program to destroy stockpiles of deadly VX nerve agent at a plant in Newport, Ind.

Perma-Fix, off West Third Street on West End Street, will not handle any of the deadly, weapons-grade nerve agent, but use a bio-treatment process to treat hydrolysate, a by-product of the VX neutralization, according to Tom Trebonik, Perma-Fix project manager.

The treated hydrolysate, a liquid like saltwater, will be released to a Montgomery County waste treatment plant.

The hydrolysate, which is considered a hazardous waste, will be shipped in vacuum-controlled Perma-Fix trucks from Newport, Ind., to Dayton, starting in October, Trebonik said.

"We are basically a waste, pre-treatment plant," Trebonik said. "We handle 20 million gallons a year of similar waste."

Outside, Mary Robinson of Concerned Citizens for Responsible Destruction of Chemical Weapons, said that the group wants the entire VX neutralization project to stay in Indiana.

"There are 2,000 residents living around here," Robinson said.

The group has contacted state Sen. Tom Roberts and U.S. Rep. Mike Turner's office.

The Perma-Fix contract calls for the company to handle 30 percent of the hydrolysate from Indiana, or 300,000 gallons about 80 truck loads.

The disposal is expected to take nine months, but the contract could be extended.

The Army has to destroy its chemical weapons stockpile by 2007, according to the 1997 U.S. ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Contact Dale Dempsey at dale_dempsey@coxohio.com or 225-2270.

[From the Dayton Daily News: 03.18.2003]

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