Oct 30, 2007

Burial Pit 3 Excavations Underway

Operating under tight safety restrictions, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers yesterday began excavating what it calls the "last known burial pit" of World War I chemical munitions in Northwest Washington's Spring Valley neighborhood. The Army expects to excavate at least fifteen 75mm artillery rounds -- a dozen or more with mustard gas and three with arsine, both toxic chemical agents -- buried in the affluent residential neighborhood that was once a site for developing and testing chemical weapons ... Washington Post (October 30, 2007: pg. B-1)


Zach said...

USACE has removed more than 400 75 mm shells from the burial pit. Approximately 10% of the shells were chemical-filled. USACE will not say what chemicals were in the shells, but we know some contained arsine and mustard agent. There is no treatment for arsine exposure. Mustard agent caused genetic mutations.

Can anyone tell me the symptoms of arsine or mustard agent exposure?

Zach said...

Charles Bermpohl has been providing excellent coverage of the American University Experimental Station contamination for the Northwest Current.

You can access some of the articles at:


Marguerite McLamb, an attorney at Wilmer Hale, wrote an excellent article in the Washington College of Law Journal, Sustainable Development Law and Policy, titled “From Death Valley to Spring Valley: A Case Study of Contamination in Washington, DC,”

You can access the article at:


Allen Hengst said...

I've answered Zach's question (above) about the symptoms of arsine exposure in the caption to the following #1 photograph.

JJ said...

It's strange for me to hear all this removal come back around as a topic. As an undergraduate at AU 15 years ago, we knew that Spring Valley was a hotbed of contamination - but as far as we could tell, everyone was sanguine about it. Now, suddenly, it all has to be pulled up and removed - but quietly? Just strange.

Thanks, Allen, for bringing it to the web.

Hit CountersFree Hit Counter