From: Associated Press
Published February 27, 2006 12:00 AM

U.S. Drops Objections to Chemical Weapon Wastewater Plan

DOVER, Delaware — Citing new safety assurances, the Environmental Protection Agency has dropped objections to a plan to treat chemical weapon wastewater at a DuPont Co. plant and discharge it into the Delaware River.

DuPont has been seeking a lucrative Army contract to treat 2 million (7.57 million) to 4 million gallons (15.14 million liters) of chemicals left over from a disposal operation in Indiana.

Delaware and New Jersey opposed an earlier version of the plan. Officials feared that traces of VX nerve agent, other toxic byproducts and basic pollutants would reach the river even after treatment at a DuPont plant in New Jersey, across the river from Wilmington. A pinhead-size droplet of VX can quickly kill an adult.

DuPont said it has since developed a new treatment step that would prevent toxic leftovers from escaping into the river.

"EPA believes that all of our previously identified ecological concerns have been resolved," EPA official Walter Mugdan said in a letter released Friday that was obtained by The News Journal of Wilmington.

A final report by analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected in April.

Critics reacted with caution.

"I'm skeptical in the sense that I need to review the evidence, and I think my staff has the same attitude," John A. Hughes, secretary of Delaware's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said late Friday.

Source: Associated Press

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