Dec 10, 2010

Munitions Destruction Delayed Again Until January 2011

Behind hospital vapor containment tent (right) awaits CDC
"We were planning to start the controlled detonation chamber operation this week and complete the effort before the holidays. Unfortunately, there was an unanticipated delay in the set up process. When the CDC team was preparing to transport the chamber from Aberdeen Proving Ground to Spring Valley, the hydraulics on the trailer broke ... The project team worked to get a second staging platform ready so the CDC system could be transferred onto it via a crane lift ... With this delay, we will not be able to start CDC operations until after the new year. The new planned start date is January 10."
Todd Beckwith

Spring Valley Project Manager
December 10, 2010

Nov 22, 2010

Army May Seek Court Order to Access "POI 2" on Fordham Road

"POI 2" is located behind this house on Fordham Road
USACE clarified that EPA legal assistance was requested to obtain access to a Fordham Road property where a potential disposal pit [Point of Interest 2] may be present ... The Fordham Road property is located adjacent to a Test Trench similar to the Test Trench on 52nd Court where an associated AUES-related disposal pit was recovered. This suggests that a significant public health threat is potentially present ... DDOE will determine whether property access at a 3700 block of Fordham Road property can potentially be obtained under a DC court order via the hazardous waste management act.
Partnering Meeting Minutes

October 26, 2010 (pg. 22)

Nov 16, 2010

Quarterly Sampling Begins in Hunt for Campus Perchlorate Source

The Army Corps of Engineers will conduct tests to determine if perchlorate in Spring Valley groundwater near Sibley Memorial Hospital comes from the same source as the perchlorate in the groundwater at AU’s campus ... Experts believe a former munitions pit on the South side of campus called Lot 18 is causing the high perchlorate levels in both locations ... Perchlorate, a dangerous chemical that can cause thyroid disorders, was used at AU during World War I to make chemical weapons.

The Kreeger Hall
testing site has the highest concentration of perchlorate in Spring Valley ... The Army Corps will now sample groundwater from the area every three months because perchlorate levels in the groundwater change according to the seasons and the amount of precipitation, [project manager Dan] Noble said.
Mitch Ellmauer
The Eagle (November 15, 2010)

Nov 10, 2010

Utility Consults Army to Replace Water Mains in Spring Valley

A city initiative to replace aging water mains in the neighborhood of last year’s devastating fire on Chain Bridge Road ran headfirst last week into one of the facts of life in Spring Valley: buried munitions. Representatives from the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority told the area advisory neighborhood commission last week that in addition to Chain Bridge Road, portions of Glenbrook Road, Woodway Lane and Rockwood Parkway would be dug up in order to replace the water mains.

But the Army Corps of Engineers has told residents that sections of those roads cover potential munitions caches, commissioners said. “They have said they don’t want to disturb the site,” said commissioner Tom Smith ... According to a spokesperson for the District Department of the Environment, there is a slight possibility that chemical munitions could be found under the roadways.
Northwest Current
November 10, 2010 (pg. 1)

Oct 27, 2010

"Bombs in Our Backyard" Excerpt Shown at Corcoran Gallery of Art

Last week at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Spring Valley resident Ginny Durrin presented a rough cut of her film about the munitions that were tested and buried at American University during World War I. “I’ve been filming ever since the story of a neighborhood in distress first broke,” Durrin said. “The cleanup has taken 100 times as long as putting the chemicals in the ground there in the first place” ... Durrin said she must raise about $100,000 to complete her movie.
Northwest Current
October 27, 2010: pg. 12

Through the incorporation of archival footage, local news coverage, and interviews with Spring Valley residents and army and government officials, “Bombs in Our Backyard” raises questions about government culpability and social and environmental responsibility while shedding light on a growing cause for concern: as many as 200 other Formerly Used Defense Sites exist elsewhere in America ... “Bombs in Our Backyard” is a clarion call to activists, environmentalists, and thoughtful, engaged citizens the world over.
Bombs in Our Backyard

Oct 21, 2010

Former Ft. Detrick Employee Says Bio Weapons Were Released in DC

FREDERICK, Md. (WUSA) -- A former Ft. Detrick employee says biological weapons were released into the air and the unsuspecting public was exposed. She says it happened in Washington, DC, during the Cold War. Dottie Blank, 77, says she worked as a secretary at Ft. Detrick from 1955 to 1989 ... She says members of the military would expose people in public to biological diseases.

"They called them the suitcase samplers," she said. "They would go down to DC, or where the train is, and they would use whatever they had mixed up and they would just sort of walk through like a regular person that was getting a train and they would let that out into the atmosphere." She says the diseases were known to make people sick, but not cause death. She says they would test the air to see how far the chemical traveled ...

Blank has Leukemia. She says Ft. Detrick has been providing her bottled water for years because chemicals were found in her water at home. She says she believes her illness was caused by chemicals from Ft. Detrick.
October 21, 2010

Oct 4, 2010

EPA Braces for Pushback on Proposed Perchlorate Standard

A government official briefed by the EPA told The Associated Press on Thursday night that the agency has proposed that the chemical, perchlorate, be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act ... In 2008, under President George W. Bush, the EPA decided against regulating the chemical, saying that setting a federal standard would do little to reduce risks to public health. That decision angered environmentalists and Democratic lawmakers. The Pentagon and EPA have tussled over the issue for years, with the Pentagon potentially facing liability if the standard were to force water agencies around the country to undertake costly cleanup efforts.
Associated Press

September 30, 2010

But EPA's initial foray toward using its Safe Drinking Water Act authority against perchlorate is only the first step in a lengthy process that begins at the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), an arm of the Office of Management and Budget where federal agencies and private-sector interests weigh in on the economic impact of potential new rules ... While [University of Maryland law professor Rena Steinzor] greeted EPA's movement on perchlorate with "a big round of applause," Steinzor said she would view OIRA review of the chemical with "a sense of foreboding ... because EPA has encountered such vehement resistance from federal polluters," which could face high cleanup bills. Perchlorate contamination is estimated to be present in the drinking water of at least 35 states and the District of Columbia.
New York Times

October 4, 2010

Sep 21, 2010

Conventional Munitions Will be Destroyed Behind Hospital Soon

Later this fall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to mobilize a Controlled Detonation Chamber (CDC) to the Spring Valley federal property to destroy the conventional munitions that were recovered during recent investigations at Spring Valley.. . The destruction process begins by wrapping a donor explosive, or rolled sheet explosive, around the munition, placing the munition in the CDC, then closing and sealing the door. Once the door is closed, the donor explosive is remotely detonated.

In addition to the inherent safety measures built into the detonation chamber, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to use sandbag barriers to ensure the safety of the workers and the surrounding community during the operation. The safety and setup plans are currently being reviewed by various organizations within the Department of Defense, as well as the Corps’ regulatory partners.
The Corps'pondent
September 2010

Sep 11, 2010

Munitions Investigation Next to Reservoir Nears Completion

Work is progressing on the geophysical investigation that began last summer of a 62-acre section of Dalecarlia Woods, located adjacent to the Dalecarlia Parkway. A portion of the site was used by the U.S. Army during World War I as a target/impact area and for possible munitions disposal ... Earth Resources Techology has completed the geophysical survey on about 70 percent of survey area and plans to finish the geophysical data collection on the entire 62-acres by this fall ... "They are planning to begin the first 10 acres of the intrusive anomaly investigation of the woods by the fall of this year and complete the activity by the summer of 2011,” said Lan Reeser, USACE design team leader.
The Corps'pondent
September 2010

Sep 6, 2010

CERCLA Feasibility Study Will Delay Pit 3 Dig at Least 9 Months

Workers in Emergency Containment Structure demobilize Pit 3
Progress was made this month in determining the next step in the administrative process for the Pit 3 Area property on Glenbrook Road ... A decision was made to begin a Feasibility Study. The Feasibility Study is the part of the administrative Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act process in which there is a comprehensive review of all information and data generated to date at the property.

In coming months, USACE will draft the Feasibility Study document for the Pit 3 Area property on Glenbrook Road and will analyze all options for final cleanup of the property. A Proposed Plan containing potential options and the recommended approach for conducting the cleanup of the property will then be published and made available for public review and comment.
Spring Valley Project Monthly Update
August 2010

Sep 1, 2010

"Nothing Unusual" about Indoor Air Monitoring at AU President's House

AU also announced that it has been conducting periodic air monitoring at president [Neil Kerwin's] residence. Many of the chemicals in the soil at Pit 3 react with the air to give off gas and toxic fumes .... Some members of the community are upset because AU had not told the Army Corps of Engineers or Spring Valley residents that it was conducting air quality tests at the president’s residence, according to [Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Tom] Smith.

“I was somewhat stunned … because air monitoring is a very sensitive issue in the neighborhood. Some residents have pushed the Army to conduct air monitoring in their homes, and the Army has refused,” Smith wrote in an e-mail. [David] Taylor and [Jorge] Abud claim there was nothing unusual about air monitoring tests at the president’s house.
Mitch Ellmauer
The Eagle
September 1, 2010

Aug 22, 2010

Spring Valley Partners Straying Off US Army Corps Reservation

P. Chrostowski mentioned that AU feels that in the event of an arsenic trichloride release within the ECS, substantial arsenic trichloride concentrations may remain airborne ... AU recommended specific air monitoring enhancements and an additional air monitoring system to address this concern.

Chrostowski described the AU administration’s position on future work conducted at the Pit 3 property. A comprehensive plan should be developed to address all possible AUES-related property findings, including removal of the house, ancillary excavation underneath the house footprint, and specific recommendations for the next high-probability investigation phase. Removal of the entire structure appears to be the only acceptable course of action, due to uncertainties about the amount of AUES-related items and contamination remaining on the property.

EPA expressed the need for further discussion and analysis of waste disposal alternatives. Although AUES-related waste is currently shipped to a licensed facility in Port Arthur, Texas, the surrounding area is an environmental justice showcase community where residents and EPA have expressed concerns about waste disposal and overall pollution. Future planning should include a public meeting in Port Arthur with significant input from community members and stakeholders.

Peter deFur inquired about EPA’s progress in obtaining information from the builder of the Pit 3 property. EPA explained that a letter was sent to pursue information on AUES-related discoveries during house construction. The builder’s lawyer responded in February 2010 and claimed business confidentiality based on attorney-client privileges ... DDOE replied that DC Councilmember Mary Cheh suggested issuing a subpoena.
Spring Valley Partnering Meeting Minutes
June 29, 2010 (pg, 5)

Aug 16, 2010

GAO Recommends Greater EPA Oversight of Military Cleanups

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is urging EPA and the Defense Department to overhaul the process for cleaning up military bases in order to improve the remediation progress, including the possible creation of a new record-keeping system and revisions to an executive order to boost EPA's oversight of cleanups. GAO in a report released Aug. 16 also reiterates a recommendation it made in 2009 that Congress consider amending section 120 of the Comprehensive, Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act to authorize EPA to administratively impose penalties to enforce cleanup requirements at federal facilities.
August 16, 2010

The extensive use of performance-based contracts at these installations has created pressure to operate within price caps and fixed deadlines. In some cases, these pressures may have contributed to installations not exploring the full range of cleanup remedies, or relying on non-construction remedies, such as allowing contaminated groundwater to attenuate over time rather than being cleaned up.
Cleanup Progress at Key Defense Installations
Government Accountability Office
July 15, 2010

Aug 9, 2010

Army Revisits Elementary School to Sample Soil Again for Arsenic

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last month sampled soil from the campus of Horace Mann Elementary School to check for elevated levels of arsenic. Preliminary results show low concentrations of the poisonous chemical, according to Army officials ... The Corps had performed some soil sampling at the school in 2001, finding levels of arsenic far below those seen in nearby areas.

Composite screening for arsenic at Horace Mann
Elementary School (areas 1, 3 & 4 were tested in 2001)

Officials decided to perform the latest testing after several residents and parents questioned why the Corps had not sampled a larger swath of the campus across from American University, where the Army conducted a chemical weapons program during World War I ... Alma Gates [who represents Horace Mann on the Spring Valley Restoration Advisory Board] added that she understood the concerns of those who questioned why the Army Corps had not performed a more complete soil investigation at the school.
Ian Thomas
Northwest Current

July 21, 2010: pg.1

Jul 21, 2010

Pit 3 Excavation on Hold as Corps Considers "Next Stage" of Cleanup

In June, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received substantial comments on the Pit 3 Area's work plan for the 'high probability' test pit investigation. Upon review of the comments, we will begin a comprehensive assessment of how to complete work at the property ... We will inform the community of the assessment approach as soon as it is determined. All options for cleanup of the property will be reviewed as part of the process. During this process, which will take several months, some staging equipment will be removed from the Pit 3 Area property, fencing will be moved from the road to the sidewalk and minimal restoration will be conducted.
Spring Valley FUDS
Project Update (June 2010

During a meeting of the Restoration Advisory Board last week, Army officials revealed that they are also considering moving on to the next stage of cleanup at 4825 Glenbrook Road, the site of a munitions burial pit. The Army shut down work at the site in March after diggers uncovered fuming glassware containing arsenic trichloride, an ingredient used to make the blistering agent lewisite ... “It’s somewhat of a judgment call,” Noble said. “The [investigation] has gone on for a long time, and it’s been fairly expensive" ... Among the decisions to be made is whether to tear down the house that currently occupies the Glenbrook Road property, which is owned by American University.
Ian Thomas
Northwest Current

July 21, 2010: pg.1

Jun 22, 2010

AU Will Build Dormitories on Contaminated South Campus Sites

Conspicuous by their absence are Rockwod, Financial Aid & the
Public Safety buildings, as well as the Child Development Center

American University is proposing to construct three undergraduate dormitories -- totaling 304,000 square feet -- at the location of the most contaminated areas on this campus, a 90-year-old Formerly Used Defense Site.

"An overarching theme of American University's developing 2011 Campus Plan is to bring more of our undergraduate students back to live on campus. The latest draft of the plan, which was unveiled in May at a monthly meeting with community representatives, focuses on building student housing to meet AU's current and projected needs for the next decade."
2011 Campus Plan Brings More Students Back On Campus
June 21, 2010

AUES looking southwest from roof of McKinley Building (1918)

University officials resisted the idea that they hadn't been listening to community members and thoroughly evaluating their requests, and said they sometimes directly took residents' advice on where to put a building. David Taylor, the university president's chief of staff, said that while not every resident agrees with the plan, building dorms at the site of the current public safety building is one of several decisions that were adopted from community input.
Northwest Current
June 16, 2010 (pg. 1)

Jun 8, 2010

CCC May Have Buried WMD's Under the C & O Canal in the 1930's

Steam shovel may have buried munitions under C&O Canal
The District of Columbia Department of Health, Environmental Health Administration received information from a resident of Spring Valley consisting of, among other things, a February 25, 1993, memorandum of a phone call from one Ian MacFee to the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services alleging that the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) buried munitions in 14 pits at the AUES [American University Experiment Station]. The caller stated that he worked with the CCC in the 1930s under the command of a Lt. Wray Noel ... There were other intricate details in the telephone call that confirmed facts previously known to the District of Columbia staff (i.e., “French 75s and mustard gas” ) but which are known to only a small circle of experts.  These facts recited by the caller suggested a very knowledgeable witness.

North of Fletcher's Boathouse, shovel was lowered into
then-empty canal from bike path (former railroad line)

The District of Columbia was able to obtain FG-118-120.  This photograph dated April 30, 1937, and covers 22 months of Lt. Noel’s 24-month service period ... Indeed, as EPIC [Environmental Photographic Interpretation Center] predicted the photo contains an obvious linear feature approximately a half mile long parallel to the C&O Canal suggesting mechanically worked earth ... This area had railroad access and it would have been possible to bring a steam shovel into the area as MacFee indicated. It was also federal property and close to the AUES. Further, the area upon physical examination still shows clear evidence of earth that has been excavated by mechanical means, compatible with the aerial photograph representation ... The District also obtained another photograph showing the [steam] shovel in the canal, which had been drained. Could it be that the burials occurred in the canal while they were shoveling out flood debris and silt? ... Because EPIC has now analyzed the aerial photographs and found no pits near the canal,  it is likely that the burials were made in the canal proper while the crane was there for the purpose of rebuilding the towpath.
Richard D. Albright
The Continuing Search for Burial Sites
Cleanup of Chemical & Explosive Munitions (pgs. 158 - 168)

May 31, 2010

Search for WW I Munitions Resumes in Dalecarlia Woods

The geophysical survey field team prepares to return to work in the Dalecarlia Woods this month after a nearly two month break caused by a contractor worker injury … Dalecarlia Woods is a former World War I down range impact and possible munitions disposal area that includes about 62-acres … “Based on the former use of this area and what’s already been found on the surface, it would not be a big surprise to find a significant amount of munitions debris directly below the surface in this area,” said Lan Reeser [design team leader, USACE]. “We have procedures in place to safely address whatever munitions related finds we may encounter.”
The Corps’pondent
June 2010 (pg. 3)

May 17, 2010

Sea-Dumped Chemical Weapons Are Rusting Time Bombs

Presenters: Finn Longinotto and Ryo Sato
Global Green USA's Security and Sustainability Program continued discussion on sea-dumped munitions, especially chemical weapons (CW) as part of its "Healing the Oceans" initiative. This roundtable gave a general introduction to the issue, describing the geography, quantities and potential health hazards ... The session was particularly important in defining the context within which the more in-depth roundtables to follow will delve further into the primary geographic locations – the Baltic, the Pacific including Hawaii, and the Mediterranean – and tackle legal, public health and possible mitigation issues.
Sea-Dumped Munitions: Risks & Challenges
May 10, 2010

According to U.S. Department of Defense reports, the U.S military alone dumped CW [chemical warfare] agents in waters worldwide on at least 74 occasions between 1918 and 1970 ... Shells and bombs sometimes were jettisoned unfettered, but more often were loaded as cargo into ships that were sunk by opening sea cocks or holed by artillery fire or torpedoes. Sunken ships tended to settle on the ocean floor largely intact, with the result that the CW material they contained remained within a small area. Unfettered material could settle within a small area, but also might become widely dispersed by currents, tides, and other forces. As can be realized, not much consideration was given at the time to the safety and environmental implications of employing ocean-dumping disposal techniques.
Chemical Munitions Dumped at Sea
James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Monterey Institute of International Studies

May 10, 2010

Spring Valley Cleanup Lands on Front Page of Los Angeles Times

On March 29, a broken bottle spewed smoke inside the containment tent.  Tests show the fumes came from arsenic trichloride, which is poisonous by inhalation, skin contact or ingestion. Known as "arsenic butter," the compound was used to boost the lethality of mustard, a blister agent that reportedly caused more than 1 million casualties in World War I, and to produce lewisite, dubbed the "dew of death," and other chemical warfare agents.

The find was deemed so perilous that work has been halted until Army engineers can determine how to safely proceed.  "The concern is they may find a lot more, and there's a real question whether the air pollution controls are adequate," said Paul Chrostowski, an environmental scientist who monitors the cleanup for the university.  Kerwin, the university president, was forced to abandon his home for two years when his yard was dug up.  He and his wife moved back last fall after tests showed the hazard was gone.  "We may have to change our analysis now," Chrostowski said.  "He may have to move again."
Bob Drogin
Los Angeles Times
May 10, 2010 (pg. 1) 

Apr 25, 2010

Student Holds Forum on Toxins Buried Under American University

The discussion, titled The Toxins beneath American University aimed to inform the AU community and Spring Valley residents about the future of remediation efforts and potential health issues, according to Michael Ginsberg, a senior in the School of International Service ... "I held this panel at Wesley Seminary, not American University, because the administration would not permit it to take place on campus," [Ginsberg said] ... "AU is not truly interested in open dialogue on the issues at hand, but in preserving and maintaining its sanitized presentation of the facts."

"According to a 1921 article in The Courier, American University's trustees gave permission to the Army to bury $800,000 of chemical warfare agents, munitions and explosives on campus and released the federal government of all liability in exchange for 8 buildings that the Army built," [Kent Slowinski observed]. "This is one of the worst cases of environmental contamination in the District of Columbia. The responsible thing to do, according to the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, is to set up a disease registry for AU students, faculty and staff, as well as Spring Valley residents, workers and tenants."
Christopher Cottrell
The Eagle
April 25, 2010

Ginsburg invited 28 potential speakers, including representatives of the university and the Army Corps of Engineers, but only five attended, none of them representing the Army or the school's administration ... As for the university, spokesperson Camille Lepre said the school administration did not jointly decide against participating. Rather, she said Ginsberg asked a number of university officials to attend and "each person made their own decision based on their own schedules."
Ian Thomas
Northwest Current
May 12, 2010 (pg. 3)

Apr 16, 2010

"Smoking" Arsenic Discovery Stops Excavations at Burial Pit 3

Workers found a larger jar with mustard, glassware that was smoking and fuming, scrap munitions and a shell containing a tear gas agent. In late March, the Army Corps uncovered the smoking chemical arsenic trichloride for the first time in the cleanup project. It can be used to develop the blistering agent lewisite, Noble said. Digging was halted shortly after while officials review their safety procedures. American University spokeswoman Camille Lepre said there were no plans to move or cancel any campus events scheduled at the [neighboring] president's house.
Brett Zongker

Associated Press
April 16, 2010

On Glenbrook Road two houses sit side-by-side. To the left is the stately, stone home with eight white columns and fine landscaping where American University President Cornelius Kerwin hosts picnics with students; right next door is a brick house surrounded by a 10-foot chain link fence, topped by a single strand of barbed wire. Two structures encased in plastic tarps sit atop the most potentially lethal toxic waste site in any U.S. city ... Behind Sibley Hospital, the Army is disposing bombs in the EDS, a mobile unit that's designed to take the toxicity from the chemicals. The EDS is right next to Dalecarlia Reservoir, 50 yards away from a water treatment facility, and not far from an assisted living facility.
Harry Jaffe

Washington Examiner
April 18, 2010

Apr 7, 2010

Munitions Disposal begins April 15; DDOE Requires Safety Plan First

Preparations continued this month for the upcoming destruction of the 5 chemical munitions and 20 liquid-filled (non-chemical agent) items near the Spring Valley Project Field Offices on federal property ... The destruction of the chemical munitions is tentatively scheduled to start on April 15th and will take about 6 working days to complete, dependent on weather. Following neutralization of the chemical agent-filled munitions, the liquid-filled munition items will be processed. The EDS operation is expected to be complete in early May.
Spring Valley Monthly Project Update
March 2010

Emergency Destruction System inside containment structure
The D.C. Department of the Environment will require the city to craft a public safety plan before allowing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with the destruction of chemical munitions in Spring Valley ... Greg Nielson, the Army's group leader on the munitions destruction project, said the Army Corps had already taken safety steps "so we could take the public completely out of the picture. But if the District of Columbia wants to do more, hey, that's fine. If it makes the residents feel better, that's great."
Ian Thomas
Northwest Current
April 7, 2010 (pg. 1)

Mar 31, 2010

Corps Claims No Public Safety Plan Needed for WMD Disposal in DC

"The longest running play in America is here in Washington and it is named Shear Madness, which in my view is exactly what this decision is," said Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Stu Ross. "Just pause and think for a moment about what would happen if someone got it wrong." Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Thomas Smith added, "As history has shown us, accidents happen. It would be nice to know there is a plan in place that is more detailed than somebody saying, 'Whoops.'"
Washington, DC
March 30, 2010

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not developed a public safety plan for responding should an accident occur during next month’s destruction of chemical munitions in Spring Valley ... Prior to allowing work to begin, technicians will monitor weather conditions to ensure that in the event of a release the chemical plume would not pose a threat by the time it could reach the residential neighborhood, which is 380 feet from the demolition site.

“As the plume moves away from the origin point, it becomes more and more dilute, and so when it reaches [that] distance it is so dilute that there’s no way it could cause a health threat anymore,” said Dan Noble, the Army Corps Spring Valley project manager.
Ian Thomas
Northwest Current
March 31, 2010 (pg. 1)

Mar 20, 2010

Artillery Shells Found on Ground alongside Dalecarlia Parkway

Two 90-year-old artillery shells were found in flagged area
Up until the snow storm in early February, preparations for the geophysical survey of the Dalecarlia Parkway/DC right-of-way area continued. The team continued removal of underbrush and bamboo as well as the clearance of any metallic surface debris. During the surface clearance, two munition debris items, both from 75 mm munition items were recovered. Neither posed any hazard to workers or the community.
Spring Valley Project Monthly Update
February 2010

Shells found on range fan yards west of Dalecarlia Parkway

Mar 9, 2010

Lend a Helping Hand to Re-brand "Operation Safe Removal"

Since 1993, the Army Corps of Engineers have marched under the banner Operation Safe Removal. Considering their arduous efforts, and how much removal they’ve done, the Army must be exhausted by now. Their operation name is exhausted, too — it just doesn’t seem to fit anymore. You can help refresh that tired Army operation by creating a new name, logo, or tag line. How? By entering the Environmental Health Group's re-brand "Operation Safe Removal" contest. See details at ...
Re-Brand Operation Safe Removal
April Fool Contest

Mar 1, 2010

Chemical Weapons To be Neutralized Next to Reservoir within Six Weeks

The RCWM (Recovered Chemical Warfare Materiel) is destroyed on site using the EDS. The EDS is a mobile treatment system designed to destroy RCWM. The EDS would be transported to the SVFUDS federal property and staged near the current storage facilities ... The EDS uses explosive cutting charges to open the munitions, followed by addition of neutralizing agents that neutralize the chemical agent. The explosive detonation and chemical neutralization process is conducted within a stainless steel containment vessel which contains the blast, vapors and fragments ... The liquid and solid wastes are containerized and shipped off-site to a permitted TSDF. 
Disposal of Recovered Chemical Warfare Materiel
Action Memorandum, Spring Valley FUDS
February 2010

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' recent decision to destroy chemical and conventional weapons behind Sibley Hospital some time in April, raises a number of unanswered questions ... Army officials inflated the cost of moving the munitions by including $200,000 to fly the munitions by helicopter to a military facility. All that's needed is the Tech Unit pickup truck and a police escort
Kent Slowinski
Northwest Current
March 24, 2010 (pg. 10)

Feb 27, 2010

"Buried in History" to Compete at DC Environmental Film Festival

Janet Bohlen points to where munition was found
Produced by Georgetown University students, BURIED IN HISTORY is a gripping 11-minute documentary that uncovers a hidden story in Spring Valley, one of Washington, D.C.’s most affluent neighborhoods and site of a chemical research 
facility during World War I. It will compete with seven other short student documentaries at the Environmental Film Festival. The program will be introduced by Chris Palmer and Sandy Cannon-Brown, Professors, American University. A panel discussion follows.

Feb 25, 2010

Army Concedes Recent Finds "Remarkably Similar" to Sgt. Maurer Pit

Bottle necks recovered on Glenbrook before February snow storm
The Army Corps of Engineers recovered five more broken glass bottlenecks at its 4825 Glenbrook Rd. investigation, bringing the total to eight bottlenecks found in the last month, according to the Corps’ Spring Valley project manager Dan Noble ... At the Feb. 16 Restoration Advisory Board meeting, Noble said the bottlenecks recovered looked “remarkably similar” to the bottles depicted in a 1918 photo with Army Sergeant C. W. Maurer standing amid approximately 30 glass jugs ... The Corps showed photos of the current investigation, which revealed a white substance in the soil where workers found the broken bottlenecks. “This is consistent with what you see in that photo,” Noble said. “We see the white powder in the photo, and we see white powder here in the ground."
Christopher Cottrell
The Eagle (February 25, 2010: pg 4)

AUES debris recovered on Glenbrook before February snow storm
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