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
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