Aug 26, 2009

Digging Suspended after Surprise Mustard Discovery at Burial Pit 3

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore District has temporarily suspended its investigation of Pit 3, located at 4825 Glenbrook Road at the Spring Valley Formerly Used Defense Site in northwest Washington, D.C., as a result of the discovery of an intact, open flask ... Following established procedures, workers secured the flask and took it to the federal property adjacent to the Washington Aqueduct. The Army’s Technical Escort Unit (TEU) took the flask to Edgewood Arsenal, in Maryland, for analysis on Aug. 5. On Aug.10, the Corps received confirmation that the material in the flask tested positive for the chemical agent mustard.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
August 12, 2009

"Mustard gas in open containers is just as toxic now as it was 90 years ago," says Kent Slowinski, a Spring Valley resident, activist and thorn in the Army's side. "How can the corps say there's no risk?" That's the question D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton posed to corps project manager Daniel Noble on Thursday afternoon. When she heard about the mustard gas, she hauled Noble into her office. Norton has been relentless in keeping the corps on the case and prying information from the Army. "We want them to keep digging," she told me after the meeting. "They are not leaving until we say so."
Harry Jaffe
Washington Examiner

August 14,2009


Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is right to note that the Corps twice before has declared the cleanup complete, only to resume work after the discovery of more buried weapons. Officials must do everything they can to make sure this does not happen yet again, and it is essential that they fully investigate the cause of extensive groundwater contamination in the area ... Since munitions were first uncovered in 1993 by unsuspecting construction workers in Spring Valley West, the Army has spent $173 million on cleanup efforts. We're glad Del. Norton is working to ensure that this enormous project is done right
Davis Kennedy
Northwest Current

August 26, 2009

Aug 6, 2009

Army Corps Must Issue EE/CA on Weapons Destruction by Year's End

USACE received direction to produce an Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis (EE/CA) report that will identify and evaluate disposal options for both chemical munitions and conventional munitions. After the draft EE/CA has been reviewed by the Army, the EPA, and the DDOE, the EE/CA will be made available for public review during a formal 30-day comment period. During the comment period, we will hold an Open House where the Army will be available to answer questions about the disposal options. Members of the community will also be able to submit comments during the Open House. The EE/CAs for chemical and conventional munitions destruction are expected to be available for public review by the end of this calendar year.
Spring Valley Project Update
July 2009

Aug 5, 2009

Security Breached in Perimeter Fence Guarding "Federal Property"

Just behind Sibley Hospital and east of Dalecarlia Reservoir, a 24-hour guard stands at the front entrance to an anonymous looking place known as the "Federal property." On the other side of the fence are: 1) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters for the Spring Valley FUDS cleanup (pictured above); 2) the IHF or Interim Holding Facility (about 150 yards north) where recovered chemical munitions are being stored, pending their eventual destruction; and 3) a hilly, 65-acre section of woods where the 16-year hunt for buried WMD's will arguably come to an end next year.

Along the northern boundary of this wooded survey area, the perimeter fence runs parallel to the Spring Valley homes on Warren Place, about thirty yards west of Dalecarlia Parkway. During a recent inspection several large openings in the fence were discovered, including the twenty-foot gap (pictured below) caused by a fallen tree trunk.

 
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