Pueblo Chemical Depot

(Pueblo-AP) -- The Defense Department has chosen Bechtel National Incorporated as the chief contractor for cleaning up the mustard agent weapons stored at the Pueblo Chemical Depot.

Pueblo County officials call the decision a milestone toward cleaning up the weapons that have been stored at the depot for as long as 50 years.

The unsuccessful bid came from a partnership of CH2M Hill and the chemical and engineering corporations of EG and G and Fluor.

Bechtel will use a water-based process for destroying the mustard agent in a one-point-five billion dollar project expected to last about 10 years.

Defense officials yesterday notified Pueblo County Commissioner John Klomp of their decision.

A news conference announcing the decision is expected Monday.