Dec 22, 2011

Omnibus 2012 Spending Bill Aims for DoD Funded Health Study

The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced today that language encouraging the Department of Defense to support public health studies of Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) in densely populated communities, like Spring Valley in Northwest Washington, D.C., was included in the report accompanying the fiscal year 2012 omnibus spending bill recently passed by Congress.
“The report language is part of my 18-year effort to ensure the health and safety of residents living near the Spring Valley FUDS, a community that developed around the American University campus without any knowledge that their original neighborhood had been among America’s largest development and testing sites for chemical and other weapons during World War I,” Norton said.

Earlier this year, Norton offered an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill for a study of the health effects of the Spring Valley FUDS, after a constituent asked her at the July 4th Palisades parade if she could get a comprehensive public health study of Spring Valley.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Press Release (December 22, 2011)

Dec 17, 2011

Commission Splits Over Extent of Army Cleanup on Glenbrook Road

After a contentious debate, the commission agreed last week to form a committee to report next month on the removal of dangerous World War I chemicals from the soil of 4825 Glenbrook Road and possibly 4835 Glenbrook Road as well. But commissioners are still disagreeing over what their role should be in the cleanup ...

Eventually commissioners voted to table the matter until their January meeting and to appoint Commissioner Nan Wells to draft a consensus resolution. But in a later interview, [Commission chair Thomas] Smith said he might designate a new chair, as some committee members object to Wells as the leader. He said his position as commission chair gives him the right to appoint the committee head.

Northwest Current
December 14, 2011 ( pg. 5)

Dec 12, 2011

Spring Valley Residents Still Harbor Health Concerns Despite Study

The Bohlens have lived in the Spring Valley section of Northwest Washington for 52 years, raising three children and now settling into retirement. Over the past two decades, the Army Corps of Engineers has excavated pockets of their wealthy, tree-lined neighborhood, which was built over the Army’s World War I chemical warfare testing grounds, to analyze possible contamination. Now, Johns Hopkins University is about to embark on yet another health study in this neighborhood. The Bohlens are typical of families there who still wonder whether certain cancers and other serious health problems have been caused by the presence of buried toxic chemicals ...

Tall but fragile, Geza Teleki moves slowly around his Bethesda home, where he moved a few years ago with his wife, Heather, after raising their children in Spring Valley. Before he retired, Teleki was a conservationist, once serving as director of national parks in Sierra Leone. He was in “excellent health,” he said, before he left Africa in the 1990s and returned to Spring Valley. Teleki then worked from his basement office as a lobbyist for the World Wildlife Fund ... His feet turned black, to the confusion of his doctors. No one could understand what it was, he said. “As it turned out, the soldiers in World War I who had arsenic gas contamination — their feet turned black.”
Sylvia Carignan
Washington Post
December 12, 2011 (pg. B-1)

Nov 22, 2011

Perchlorate Levels in 16 Wells Lead to Source NE of Kreeger Bldg.

At the November Restoration Advisory Board meeting, the Army disclosed that -- in order to minimize disruption of the American University campus -- the anomalies identified during a 2½-acre geophysical survey of the Kreeger-Hamilton area last spring would be excavated over the upcoming winter break. Project Manager Todd Beckwith reported on findings from sixteen temporary wells drilled and tested for perchlorate across this identical site in July.

The highest levels detected were just northeast of and surrounding Kreeger Building: "SA 7 is where we detected 22 ppb in groundwater just a little bit upgradient of PZ 4," Beckwith announced. "SA 5, SA 3 and SA 15 also had notable concentrations of perchlorate ... it looks like we've bounded the perchlorate source area, meaning that it seems to be more confined to this area." When asked precisely what activities took place there during World War I, Project Manager Dan Noble observed: "That was the Experiment Station. There were labs and little pilot production facilities. There was a lot of activity going on right here" [SA 7].

Spring Valley RAB
Meeting Minutes
November 8, 2011 (pg. 12)

Kreeger from Hamilton parking lot; Source Area 7 is under pylon

Nov 16, 2011

Fused 75mm Shell Found Along Hwy. in Vicinity of WW I Railroad

Army Corps project manager Dan Noble announced that workers are now looking in 38 acres of the Dalecarlia Woods for buried ammunition and other material from the testing program. Noble, who co-chairs the board, reported that a 75-millimeter shell was found 10 inches beneath the surface of the highway right-of-way on the residential side of Dalecarlia Parkway.
Northwest Current

November 16, 2011 (pg. 3)

NOTE: 75mm shell actually located two grids(acres) farther south
NOBLE: Yesterday, on the first day of digging, in grid H-4 they came across an intact munition along the Dalecarlia Parkway. It was about 25 feet off the parkway, about ten inches down: a 75mm. It was fused. We don't usually find fused items ... With the assistance of DC (because it was along the parkway during rush hour), we asked DC Metro police to come out. The bomb squad responded and they shut down a lane of Dalecarlia for us while we got the item out ...

SLOWINSKI: Can you point out where the narrow-gauge railroad is?

NOBLE: No, I can't ...

BECKWITH: Well, AOI #2 is listed here, so I think it's in that general vicinity.

SLOWINSKI: So would it cross Dalecarlia approximately where the munition was found?

BECKWITH: The narrow-gauge rail? ... I don't know. We speculated that that rail was related to either construction of the reservoir on aqueduct property or it could been from the timber operation for removing some timber when they put in this big water main that went through here ...

SLOWINSKI: My understanding is that the narrow-gauge railroad ran primarily East - West, whereas the pipeline goes primarily North - South.

NOBLE: I have no information to add.
Spring Valley RAB Meeting
November 8, 2011 (audio recording)

After much delay because of a lack of labor, the famous "Hillside Express," or perhaps better known as the "Death's Valley Limited," narrow-gauge tramway is rapidly being completed. This railway, which will convert bleak hillsides and hopeless hollows into busy manufacturing districts, is almost open for service. Already it is being used to a great extent in a limited capacity, such as hauling stills and other heavy machinery up and down the line. The passenger coaches for hauling the men to and from work have not been put into service yet, but Pvt. Ward, the constructing genius, promises them some time in the very near future. 
The Retort
October 6, 1918

Survey flags trace abandoned narrow-gauge railroad bed
In November, field teams continued investigating buried metallic anomalies in the Dalecarlia Woods geophysical investigation area. Three munition items and approximately 20 munitions debris items have been recovered since this investigation began in October 2011. The Dalecarlia Woods anomaly investigation effort is expected to be completed in early 2012.
Spring Valley Project Summary

November 2011

Nov 2, 2011

Cleanup Plan Will Wipe "Notorious Address" Off the Face of the Map

Congresswoman Norton (D-DC) and Carrie Johnston (USACE)
At a public meeting on Oct. 26, the Army Corps formally presented its plan to remove chemical materials deemed unsafe from the AU-owned property 4825 Glenbrook Rd., adjacent to the Kreeger building parking lot. The proposed plan, which AU endorses, is to demolish the unoccupied house on the property, excavate much of the yard and restore the lot to residential standards ... Munitions, laboratory glassware and tons of contaminated soil have already been removed from the site, but the Army Corps believes there is more to be found along the sides of the home’s foundation. Army Corps has been excavating a WWI chemical munitions burial pit beneath the property since 2007, until several jugs containing arsenic trichloride, a toxic gas, were found in March 2010, The Eagle previously reported.
Sylvia Carignan
The Eagle
November 1, 2011

“The demolition of this house and cleanup of the affected grounds will remove one of the last known contaminated properties,” [Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes] Norton (D-DC) said. “This property has become a monument to the contamination that has marred a beautiful neighborhood. I hope that when this house comes down and the property is cleaned up, it will signal that we have come close to eliminating the contamination in this neighborhood. A watch period will then begin to ensure that this time all the contamination has been eliminated.”
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Press Release (October 26, 2011)

Oct 26, 2011

Army Drilling Deep Wells to Test Valley Bedrock for Perchlorate

Second deep well being drilled at 4820 Glenbrook Road
Two new wells bored 200 feet below Spring Valley represent the latest step in an ongoing effort by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine the source of groundwater contamination and where that contamination is spreading. The Army Corps has been studying Spring Valley's groundwater since 2005 and has found, just below the ground, concentrations of the chemical perchlorate that significantly exceed drinking water standards ... The planned Kreeger Hall excavation should determine that source, according to [Army Corps project manager Todd] Beckwith. A survey over the summer with advanced metal detectors found "anomalies" that could be buried Army waste causing the contamination, he said.
Brady Holt
Northwest Current
October 26, 2011 (pg. 1)

Oct 3, 2011

Proposed Plan Posted for Review; Public Mtg. Oct. 26th at Library

The US Army Corps of Engineers ... proposes a remedy to address the cleanup created by the presence of chemical warfare materiel, agent breakdown products, munitions and explosive of concern, and hazardous and toxic waste-impacted soil found at the 4825 Glenbrook Road site.

... This notice serves as notification of the availability of the 4825 Glenbrook Road Proposed Plan for review, and the commencement of the 30-day public comment period ... Written comments should be mailed to Brenda Barber at the address below and must be postmarked by Nov. 12, 2011 to be considered. Attendees at the public meeting may provide oral comments or bring written comments to the Meeting Recorder.
Public Notice:
4825 Glenbrook Road Proposed Plan
Available for Public Review (October 3, 2011)

Sep 30, 2011

University Will Only Consider “Alternative 5” as Acceptable

Proposed High & Low Probability Excavations
Alternative 5 is the cleanup alternative that is most effective and protective of human health and the environment. It is the only alternative that removes the long-term risk posed by the 4825 Glenbrook Road site by excavating the property (Areas A, B, D, E and F), including the area beneath the house (Area E), to competent saprolite or bedrock; Alternative 5 provides the best long-term solution for minimizing future risk at the site.
… Area A will address any potential World War I related materials that may remain behind the retaining wall in the backyard of the property. If AUES related items, such as munitions and laboratory glassware, are found in Area A, the Army will continue excavating behind the retaining wall until the AUES related waste has been identified and removed.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
Proposed Plan for 4825 Glenbrook Road
September 30, 2011
Historical Sampling at 4825 Glenbrook Road
AU does not consider any remedial alternative other than "Alternative 5, Removing the House and cleaning up to Residential standards with Unrestricted Future Use,” to be acceptable.

... AU has commented repeatedly regarding the arsenic cleanup level of 20 mg/kg and has been repeatedly ignored. While 20 mg/kg may be appropriate as an action level or screening level, it is not appropriate as remedial goal especially at a site where there are so many chemical and toxicological uncertainties in the assessment of the nature and extent of contamination. Even a rough calculation reveals that the residual lifetime cancer risk associated with residential exposure to 20 mg/kg exceeds 5:100,000.
American University Comments on 

Feasibility Study: 4825 Glenbrook Road 
September 26, 2011

Sep 18, 2011

Army Corps Would Excavate to Bedrock at Glenbrook Road Site

Detailed Analysis of Remaining Alternatives
"While Alternative 5 is the most expensive, it was ranked as favorable in five out of six of the nine criteria that were ranked [above] ... The new figure [below] visually depicts Alternative 5 and highlights the areas that we would excavate. Areas A, B, D, E and F are all the areas that we would excavate to bedrock or competent saprolite under Alternative 5."
Brenda Barber, Project Manager
RAB Meeting
September 13, 2011

Remedial Actions Under Alternative 5

Sep 11, 2011

Corps Admits Having Transcript; Will Try to Locate Home Builders

In response to a question from commissioner Kent Slowinski following her presentation at the September 9th Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3-D meeting, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager Brenda Barber acknowledged that a ten-year-old videotape transcript, of an interview with construction workers who helped build the house at 4825 Glenbrook Road in 1992, is in the Army's possession. 

SLOWINSKI (33:12): Have you talked to the construction workers who built the house, many of whom suffered exposure to chemical warfare agent? ... There's a videotaped interview where the construction workers were sitting around a site plan of the property and they pointed to areas on the property where they said they found munitions or bottles filled with chemicals. They even went on to say, "You can find more munitions behind this wall."
4825 Glenbrook Road Project Mgr. Brenda Barber
BARBER (33:55): Yes, we have copies of the transcripts from those videotapes and our legal counsel is actually engaged in trying to find out the names of those employees so that we can do additional interviews with them.
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers presentation
ANC 3-D Meeting (audio recording)
September 7, 2011

[DC Department of Health environmental scientist] Richard Albright investigated further and found that five workers building 4825 Glenbrook Road had fled the site in May 1992 when fumes from broken lab glassware and contaminated soil caused pain in their eyes and lungs. Suffering from eye pain and burning skin, some of the workers went to a hospital emergency room. It was beginning to look as if both [AU President Benjamin] Ladner's house [at 4835] and 4825 Glenbrook had been built on top of a laboratory-waste dump.
Harry Jaffe

The Washingtonian
December 1, 2000

Aug 9, 2011

Proposed Army Cleanup Would Demolish Glenbrook Road House

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is recommending tearing down a Spring Valley home to identify and remove World War I-era munitions and chemicals feared to be buried beneath it. Since 2000, the Army Corps has removed more than 500 munitions items, 400 pounds of laboratory glassware and more than 100 tons of soil contaminated with arsenic and other hazardous substances from 4825 Glenbrook Road, officials said.

In 1918, 4825 Glenbrook Road was a dumpsite for chemical and explosive munitions and related debris; officials believe a pit was disturbed when the home was built, scattering that material throughout the property. The Army is now proposing to clean up whatever it finds beneath the home to a depth of 12 feet, spending an estimated $12.5 million to restore the site to residential standards.
Brady Holt
Northwest Current
August 10, 2011 (pg. 1)

Aug 6, 2011

Campus Groundwater Sampled in Ongoing Perchlorate Investigation

No Entry: Source Area Investigation
The installation of sixteen temporary wells at American University in the vicinity of Kreeger Hall was completed in an effort to identify the source of elevated perchlorate levels in the groundwater in this area. The wells were installed, sampled and closed during a three-week period in July ... Also this month, data generated from the first quarterly sampling effort in May at existing groundwater monitoring wells and surface water locations, such as creeks and streams, was reviewed.

Drilling for Groundwater at Source Area #2
The field team plans to conduct the second quarterly sampling effort the first week of August to assess whether seasonal fluctuations affect contaminant levels in groundwater within the Spring Valley project area. Three new deep groundwater monitoring wells are expected to be installed later this year to determine if perchlorate has migrated into the deeper groundwater flow areas.

Jul 16, 2011

Norton Seeks $1 Million to Study Spring Valley FUDS Health Effects

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton [D-DC] today will offer an amendment on the House floor to the Defense Appropriations bill to provide the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with $1 million to study the health effects of the Spring Valley Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) located in upper Northwest Washington, DC ... Under House Rules, Members may no longer earmark funds to a specific jurisdiction or project. However, Norton's amendment would require the study or studies to be done of FUDSs in cities with more than 500,000 residents where chemical agents were tested. Spring Valley appears to be the only FUDS that meets that definition.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Press Release (July 6, 2011)
On Thursday Norton took to the House floor and offered her amendment. For the Army, $1 million represents a comma in its budget, but no one's adding funds to anything; her amendment got voted down. But after the vote, Washington's Norm Dicks, top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said he could help direct funds for the health study. "I lost the amendment," Norton says, "but I might have won the issue."
Harry Jaffe

Kent Slowinski & Ginny Durrin after the Palisades July 4th parade

Jun 21, 2011

District Government Soliciting $250,000 Follow-Up Health Study

To provide a follow-up analysis of the initial health study completed by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health approximately four years ago, the study will consist of: documenting community concerns about health impacts possibly related to the Spring Valley FUDS, conducting open communication on project methods and findings in conjunction with the previous work completed, following-up on issues raised in the initial 2007 Scoping Study, and providing specific resources and education as needed to community members, groups and other interested parties.
Solicitation for Follow-up on Spring Valley Health Study
DC Office of Contracting & Procurement
June 21, 2011

Amendment No. 1
June 27, 2011

Spring Valley residents are hoping a proposed health study will be able to offer more information about the health effects of World War I-era contamination in their community. If the District and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health successfully hammer out a contract, the school’s researchers will immediately begin an update on a 2007 study that found an elevated incidence of arsenic-related cancers and other illnesses in Spring Valley, according to Mary Fox, a lead researcher in the study ... The contamination occurred during World War I, when the U.S. Army used the American University campus to test chemical weapons, which it fired into the then-undeveloped woods that later became the Spring Valley community.
Brady Holt
Northwest Current
July 13, 2011 (pg. 1)

Jun 11, 2011

Army Drilling 15 Wells to Pinpoint Perchlorate Source Near Kreeger

Perchlorate source area characterization and deep well installation will tentatively begin in June 2011. The 15 new temporary wells on AU‟s campus will be installed between the location where the highest perchlorate levels in Spring Valley were detected, and an existing up gradient well with low perchlorate levels ... The groundwater sampling results taken from the new temporary wells and the geophysical survey results from the area around Kreeger Hall will be evaluated to identify potential perchlorate source areas.

Well #5 will be 15 feet north of highest perchlorate detections
Prior to installing temporary wells, each borehole location will be cleared to a depth of 10 feet using an air spade to ensure that utilities are not impacted by drilling activities ... Split-spoon samples (extending the length of the temporary well) will be collected and analyzed, along with one groundwater sample and one soil sample, approximately 10 to 15 feet below ground surface, from the borehole locations.

Well #9 will be 30 feet east of highest perchlorate detections
The perchlorate source area investigation is a separate effort where temporary wells will be drilled, installed, sampled, and abandoned in the same day.
Todd Beckwith, USACE
Restoration Advisory Board Meeting
May 10, 2011

May 25, 2011

Norton Asks US House to Ensure Spring Valley Cleanup Funding

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will ... speak against an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, that would cut $197 million for Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) and reallocate those funds to the disposal of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The amendment ... could affect the cleanup of munitions and toxins found at thousands of FUDS around the nation, including the site in Northwest D.C.'s Spring Valley neighborhood.

Said Norton: "Many FUDS are located far away from densely populated areas. The D.C. site is in one of the city's residential neighborhoods and almost certainly would not have been selected as a primary site for testing World War I munitions if the District had the right to govern itself and equal representation in the Congress."
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Press Release (May 25, 2011)

Apr 30, 2011

RAB Skeptics Try to Torpedo Spring Valley Follow-Up Health Study

At the April Restoration Advisory Board meeting, skeptics derailed efforts to lobby D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray in favor of granting budget authority to the Dept. of the Environment to spend the $250,000 already appropriated for the Spring Valley follow-up health study recommended by Johns Hopkins University.

L. Monsein: In order to get a one in ten thousand risk increase in death by cancer because of arsenic, we calculated you'd have to eat a bucket of dirt every day for thirty years (14:15) ... There's just this hysterical: "We gotta study this, we gotta study this! People are dying!" People have psychological problems and other health problems and so forth. And people won't rest until it's proven that their problems are due to environmental agents in this community (15:32).

M. Pritzker: I have not heard yet any outside person who has studied it or is knowledgeable or is an expert who can conclude that anything that has occurred starting in World War I has physically harmed members of the Spring Valley community (26:56).
RAB Meeting (audio recording)
April 12, 2011

A yearlong survey of health problems in a 345-house section of Spring Valley has turned up 160 cases of chronic, often life-threatening and rare diseases — roughly one in every six homes — in the epicenter of the U.S. Army’s World War I chemical warfare testing grounds. The survey, coordinated through The Current, showed 131 individuals afflicted with 56 separate diseases of which more than half — 30 — can be linked to arsenic and other lethal agents that were developed, tested and then buried in the neighborhood during and after the war that ended in 1918.
Charlie Bermpohl
Northwest Current
November 10, 2004 (pg. B-1)

Apr 22, 2011

After WW II Allies Dumped 450 Tons of CW Off East Japan Coast

Offshore of Choshi Bay was one of the biggest chemical dump sites in Japan. The Allied Forces dumped 450 tons of chemical weapons in depths of 100 – 200 meters between October 1945 and May 1946. According to the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, more than 600 incidents were reported to the government (shown by the red circle) ... and more than 50 people have suffered from the incidents around the Bay.

More than two thirds of the incidents occurred in the 1970s and in 1972 people discovered chemical weapons and agents on 66 occasions. However, no incident was reported to the government from 1993 to 2001. In fact, it is reported that fishermen in the bay area have been throwing the discovered chemical weapons back to the ocean without notifying the government. The fishermen are worried about a rumor that the fish from this region might be polluted by the weapons, which would affect their business. This would cause a larger scale of chemical material scattering.
Ryo Sato, Research Assistant
Global Green USA
Sea-Dumped Chemical Weapons: Japan (pgs. 14 - 15)

Apr 19, 2011

University Official Admits 18-Year Cleanup "Involves Many Unknowns"

Spring Valley resident Rick Feeney lived at 4835 Glenbrook Rd. before it was the AU president’s house. In the summer of 1992, Feeney was cutting his grass when he noticed his dog yelping in the new pit construction workers had dug near his home. Liquid was coming from the dog’s eyes, and as Feeney got closer to the pit, his skin began to burn, according to a report by Washingtonian writer Harry Jaffe. Feeney told Jaffe that he felt like he had been hit with a toxic gas ...

In 1996, a landscaper was removing dirt to plant a tree at 4835 Glenbrook Rd. when smoke started pouring out of the hole he had dug. As his face began to swell, his coworkers rushed him to a hospital emergency room, according to an account in the Northwest Current [pg. B-4]. The landscaper survived, but he was one of several with long-lasting health problems caused by construction work in Spring Valley.

"American at War" Interactive Map
AU Chief of Staff David Taylor said the University’s next actions all depend on the Army Corps’ progress. “The Army Corps’ work involves many unknowns,” he said. “New information evolves as the investigation unfolds and we learn as much as we can about each circumstance.” AU may allow the unoccupied 4825 Glenbrook Rd. house to be torn down for a more thorough investigation of chemical and munitions burial pits, which may extend under the house, The Eagle reported in September.
Sylvia Carignan
The Eagle
April 18, 2011

Apr 4, 2011

Search for Campus Perchlorate Source Resumes Over Intersession

A total of 15 soil borings and co-located groundwater samples are proposed to further characterize the perchlorate source on the AU campus. All discrete soil samples and groundwater samples will be analyzed for perchlorate. Most of these borings are currently situated between PZ-4 [at Kreeger Hall] and upgradient shallow wells [near Watkins and Hamilton] ... USACE confirmed that late spring is the preferable season for sampling first water due to rainfall flushing through the soil, in contrast to the dry summer season. The ideal time frame for AU is in late spring 2011, between completion of the spring semester and the beginning of summer classes [May 9 - 30] ...

"SA" designates locations of temporary perchlorate wells
USACE requested feedback from AU regarding potential geophysical surveys and subsequent intrusive investigation in front of Kreeger Hall on the AU campus for the purpose of investigating a 1918 ground scar. This ground scar may be a shadow on the 1918 aerial photograph and received little attention early during the Spring Valley project, but someone from EPA subsequently described this ground scar as a probable ‘T’ [trench]. This ground scar is also located adjacent to elevated perchlorate detections at PZ-4.
Spring Valley Partnering Meeting
January 25, 2011 (pgs. 5, 10 & 26)

Mar 18, 2011

Research Station Christened at AU in 1918 to Test Chemical Weapons

Archives & Special Collections, American University Library
"If you've ever been to the Spring Valley neighborhood in Northwest D.C., you know it's a hop, skip and jump from American University. It's home to television personalities and ambassadors. But almost 100 years ago, Spring Valley was, how shall we say, a little bit different. Okay, more like a lot a bit different. The Army was running a World War I era chemical warfare research station in the area."
WAMU 88.5 FM
Metro Connection

March 18, 2011

Archives & Special Collections, American University Library
The Mary Graydon Center once housed the U.S. government’s largest chemical warfare research lab. The lab, then known as the New Chemical Research building, was part of the U.S. Army’s Chemical Warfare Service branch ... A local newspaper, the Baltimore Evening Star, visited the campus in 1918. “Gas and flame fighting is a new wrinkle in the American Army, but the ‘Hell Fire Battalion' has taken to it as the duck takes to water,” the Evening Star wrote. “It offers more possibilities of adventure and action than any other branch of the service” ...

But, according to one Army engineer, what the “Hell Fire Battalion” left behind at AU was even more deadly than the Germans’ chemical weapons.
Sylvia Carignan

The Eagle
March 14, 2011

Mar 8, 2011

Arsenic = 124 ppm at Army's Monthly Partnering Meeting Site

Since May 2001, the US Army Corps of Engineers has hosted monthly meetings of the Spring Valley cleanup "partners" at its trailer-office on the federal property behind Sibley Hospital. This august body — including representatives from the EPA, DC Department of the Environment, American University, the Restoration Advisory Board and local elected officials — learned last November that the level of arsenic contamination outside the conference trailer measures 124 ppm, over six times the safety limit for the Spring Valley FUDS.
Blog Editor
WMD in DC  Arsenic removal for 4 contaminated grids along the federal property fence near the guard shack is tentatively scheduled for early 2011. Of these grids, 2 exceed the 43 ppm cleanup goal with concentrations of 58 ppm and 124 ppm arsenic ... USACE requested that arsenic grids on federal property with concentrations below 43 ppm be left in place, including 2 of the grids mentioned above as well as arsenic grids within the Dalecarlia Woods. USACE noted that the 43 ppm cleanup level is considered to be protective of human health on residential properties [instead of the 20 ppm standard], only if property access or landscaping issues interfere with soil removal. Although the presence of a fence and berm do not significantly interfere with removal of these grids, the 43 ppm cleanup level may be acceptable for grids on federal property.
Spring Valley Partners

Meeting Minutes
November 30, 2010 (pg. 14)
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