With the casing of its colors during a May 7 ceremony, the Anniston Chemical Activity officially closed.
ANCA employees were responsible for the safe storage and maintenance of the 661,529 chemical munitions that had been stored on Anniston Army Depot.
During eight years of demilitarization operations at the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, the Anniston chemical munitions stockpile was safely eliminated.
However, Huntsville Center employees played a very important role in the stockpile elimination too. They actually designed the plant, oversaw construction and equipped the facility with the tools needed to carry out the mission.
Since 1982, Huntsville Center has been involved in contracting and managing the Chemical Demilitarization plant design with Parsons, said Steven Light, Huntsville Center Alternate Technologies Division chief.
“In 1995, a full on-site resident office of approximately 30 Huntsville Center personnel managed the construction phase over approximately a four–year period and then turned over the completed weapons demilitarization complex to the customer to activate systemization and operations phases to destroy stockpiled weapons,” Light said.
According to Light, during site construction Huntsville Center had approximately 200 dedicated engineers and management working on
At times, the project was quite challenging—more so than simply overseeing construction of facilities.
“It was a very unique program to destroy chemical weapons not really meant to be reverse-assembled,” he said.
Light said other challenges included installation of electronic security systems, construction craft sequencing, vendor equipment installation, configuration management of plant design/construction changes, weather, safety practices and quality assurance, to name a few.
Seven percent of the U.S. chemical weapon stockpile was located within the confines of the Anniston Depot. The stockpile included 142,428 GB nerve agent munitions; 219,374 VX nerve agent munitions; and 299,727 mustard-filled munitions. Collectively, the munitions held some 2,254 tons of chemical warfare materiel. Storage and demilitarization operations were safely concluded in September 2011.
At its peak, ANCA had more than 170 employees. The number of employees is now less than 40, a reduction achieved primarily through attrition and retirements.
Concurrent with ANCA’s closing is the ongoing effort to close the incinerator. Following many months of decontamination work within the incinerator facility, plans are being finalized to begin the demolition of the ANCDF. Demolition of the facility is expected to begin later this year.