Port Arthur facility to destroy precursor industrial chemicals from Syrian chemical weapons

Port Arthur's Veolia facility will receive precursor industrial chemicals for destruction from the Syrian stockpile of chemical weapons to be destroyed.

Ekokem AB of Finland and Veolia of France have won contracts to destroy part of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, the global watchdog OPCW said on Friday.

The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is overseeing the destruction process, has earmarked up to 40 million euros ($55 million) for the commercial processing of 500 tonnes of industrial chemicals and millions of litres of toxic waste.

Per Dan Duncan, Environmental Health & Safety Manager with Veolia said  Port Arthur facility will only receive the precursor industrial chemicals from the Syrian stockpile.

"These are the industrial chemicals that could be used to develop chemical weapons and not any of the chemical weapon components. The chemicals Veolia receive to destroy will be chemicals they process on a daily basis nothing new, said Duncan to 12News.

Veolia company officials issued the following written statement:


The employees of Veolia Environnement North America are proud to have been selected by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to treat and dispose of hazardous materials associated with the Syrian Chemical Weapons Elimination Program. The materials that Veolia will destroy are not chemical weapons – they are standard commercial industrial chemicals that had been earmarked for use for the Syrian program but were never used and simply remained in storage.

The citizens of Port Arthur and Southeast Texas should know that the materials being destroyed are standard commercial industrial chemicals transported and widely used across the United States every day. The chemicals are also consistent with the industrial materials we manage each day.

Veolia manages hazardous and toxic wastes for our governmental and industrial clients with great care and proven technical, operational and management processes. For Veolia employees, this is business as usual and we are proud to have a role in this important international security program.

As the world's largest environmental company, we are committed to protecting the planet's natural resources for future generations. Ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of our employees and the public is our highest priority, and guaranteeing environmental compliance and sustainable solutions is core to our values.

Reuters contributed to this report


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