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Blue Grass Army Depot

Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD) is a U.S. Army storage facility for conventional munitions and chemical weapons. The facility is located in east central Kentucky, southeast of the cities of Lexington and Richmond, Kentucky. The 14,494-acre (58.66 km2) site, composed mainly of open fields and wooded areas, is used for munitions storage, repair of general supplies, and the disposal of munitions. The installation is used for the storage of conventional explosive munitions as well as assembled chemical weapons. The depot primarily is involved in industrial and related activities associated with the storage and maintenance of conventional and chemical munitions.[1][2]

The tenant organization, Blue Grass Chemical Activity, is responsible for the chemical weapons stored at BGAD. BGCA is part of the Army's Chemical Materials Activity, headquartered in Edgewood, Maryland. The demilitarization of the chemical weapons is the responsibility of a third organization, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA).

BGAD provides munitions, chemical defense equipment, and ammunition support to the joint warfighter. It is the Department of Defense's primary center for surveillance, receipt, storage, issue, testing and minor repair for the Chemical Defense Equipment Program. BGAD maintains and supports CDE stocks for deploying units and homeland defense forces, and is a training site for reserve component and other deploying units.


Capabilities include: industrial services support; ammunition maintenance, renovation, disassembly and demilitarization; thermal arc coating for Air Force bombs; water washout facility with flaker belt; molten salt research and development; ultrasonic testing for mortar ammunition; chemical material surveillance; quality assurance and joint logistics support; and ammunition life cycle management.

The depot also serves as a training ground for service members.


BGAD was established in 1941 and began operations in 1942 as an ammunition and general supply storage depot, Blue Grass Ordnance Depot. In 1964, it merged with the Lexington Signal Depot in Avon, Kentucky, to become the Lexington-Blue Grass Army Depot. The Lexington facility was selected for closure under BRAC (Base Realignment And Closure); after it closed in September 1999, the remaining facility received its current designation.[3]


BGAD is housed on 14,594 acres (59.06 km2)with 1,153 buildings, 902 igloos and storage capacity of 3,233,598 square feet (300,000 m2). BGAD manufactures combat lock tools, which are a multipurpose key that allows war fighters access to MRAPs other than their own in the case of an emergency.

Impact of Base Realignment and Closure

BGAD will be gaining the maintenance workload from Red River Munitions Center, which is closing under Base Realignment and Closure 2005.


BGAD is currently working with state and federal regulators on environmental remediation. The installation is in compliance with all state and federal laws and regulations.

Chemical weapons destruction

BGAD stores a small stockpile of chemical agents, comprising 523 short tons (474 t) of nerve agents GB (sarin) and VX, and mustard gas, or about two percent of the United States chemical weapons stockpile.

Beginning in 2003, destruction of the Blue Grass chemical weapons stockpile, in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Treaty, was contracted out using a technology known as neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation. This is a different method than the incineration that is used at the larger stockpiles.

Groundbreaking for the chemical destruction facility took place on October 28, 2006. Final design of the facilities should be complete in 2010 and actual construction in 2018, after which destruction of the weapons will begin.

Chemical leaks

  • July 25–August 6, 2008: Two leaks of mustard gas.[4]
  • August 27, 2007: Sarin gas leak.[5]
  • 12 July 2008: Sarin gas leak.[6]
  • August 6, 2012: Sarin gas leak.[7]
  • October 2013: Sarin gas leak.[8]
  • August 2017: Mustard gas leak [9]


  1. ^ "Blue Grass Army Depot, Kentucky". Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives. Archived from the original on September 10, 2008. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  2. ^ "Blue Grass Army Depot". The Center For Land Use Interpretation. Archived from the original on February 11, 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  3. ^ "BGAD History". Archived from the original on May 13, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  4. ^ "Officials Confirm 2d Mustard Gas Leak". Boston Globe. August 7, 2008. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  5. ^ Carroll, James R. (December 6, 2007). "Sarin gas leak at Ky. depot investigated". Army Times. The Courier-Journal. Retrieved October 30, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  6. ^ "Sarin Leak Reported At Blue Grass Army Depot". WKYT-TV. Lexington, KY. July 12, 2008. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  7. ^ "GB vapor detected in igloo at depot". Richmond Register. Richmond, KY. August 6, 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  8. ^ Hogsed, Sarah (October 29, 2013). "Army: Chemical leak at depot did not enter atmosphere". Richmond Register. Richmond, KY. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  9. ^ "Mustard Gas Vapor Release Detected". Archived from the original on August 7, 2017. Retrieved August 7, 2017.

External links

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Blue Grass Army Depot".[dead link]