Dec 15, 2012

Walls Come Tumbling Down Over Poison Pit on Glenbrook Road

At first, the bricks tumbled one by one, the jaws of the excavator plucking at the home's facade. Then the punch: the bucket rammed through a window, raking out insulation, wiring and cinder blocks that rained on the driveway below. With a diesel roar and a crunch of timber, the United States Army Corps of Engineers began on Thursday the long-awaited demolition of a vacant house believed to have been built atop a chemical weapons burial pit, part of the tarnished legacy of a World War I-era research station in what is now one of the capital's most affluent residential neighborhoods ... The demolition is what many hope will be the climactic chapter in a nearly 20-year cleanup of the Washington neighborhood known as Spring Valley. The project over all is expected to cost nearly $240 million, paid by the federal government, and it has in the past been marred by missteps and stubborn questions over what lies beneath.


In the house directly opposite from the site, resident Christine Dieterich stood with Harold G. Bailey, Jr., her lawyer.  Dieterich voiced concerns during two restoration advisory board meetings about the safety and health of her family, especially her two children, during the cleanup and demolition.  She requested the Army Corps relocate her during the cleanup, but the Corps refused twice.  In the case of an accident, the Corps had provided a 742-foot safety zone surrounding the house.  However, the perimeter decreased to 194 feet, based on the probability of finding chemicals rather than munitions.  The Corps already briefed some residents living within the zone, like Dieterich, on what to do in the case of an accident.  Dieterich was instructed Nov. 28 on the voluntary "shelter in place" program, in which residents remain inside their homes during an accident.
The Eagle  
December 6, 2012 (pg. 6)

The munitions date to between 1917 and 1920, when American University was home to an Army munitions experimentation team that fired munitions into then-undeveloped woods and buried materials in unmarked pits there. Those woods were subsequently subdivided into the Spring Valley community ... Even before this stage of the cleanup, workers had 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. Officials believe another burial pit remains under the home's southeast corner, and determined that removing the house is the only viable cleanup option.
December 5, 2012 (pg. 1)


Yellow house across Glenbrook Rd on right is 4830; to left is 4820

The razing of 4825 is the latest effort by the US Army Corps of Engineers to clean up pits of chemical waste that are a legacy of World War I weapons testing.  Facing mustard-gas bombs in the trenches of Europe, the Army summoned chemists to make poisons at the American University Experiment Station.  When the war ended and the experiments stopped, soldiers dumped bombs and chemical waste in pits. Those pits are now in the yard of the South Korean ambassador's residence, the edge of American University, and under 4825 Glenbrook.  Tearing down the house is the easy part.  In February or March, bomb technicians will dig under the house.  They expect to unearth munitions and glassware coated with toxic chemicals such as arsenic, the major compound in lewisite, a poison dubbed “the dew of death."   
November 29, 2012

Nov 14, 2012

Army Begins Tearing Down House on Glenbrook Road Next Week

            4825 Glenbrook Road Shelter-in-Place Zones
   
The Army Corps of Engineers announced Nov. 13 that demolition on 4825 Glenbrook Rd. will begin the week of Nov 26.  Site preparation for investigative work is set after Dec. 19 when the Corps hopes demolition is completed ... The Corps will begin work under a large tent, called a “containment structure,” in January, when they expect to find chemicals.  Army Corps ... have also instituted voluntary “shelter in place” procedures, which instruct people about where to take cover in case something goes wrong at the site.  There are eight properties which fall into the zone where residents would be advised to “shelter in place,” including Watkins Hall and President Neil Kerwin’s home at 4835 Glenbrook Rd.
Leigh Giangreco

  
The Glenbrook Road house, owned by American University, is believed to sit atop a pit of hazardous materials.  Experts think the pit was disturbed when the home was built in the 1990s.  Two investigations of the property during the past decade have uncovered considerable munitions, glassware and contaminated soil, said demolition project manager Brenda Barber.  More are likely to be found once the house is torn down, she said ... During World War I, the country's major experimental poison gas station was located at American University.  After the war, much of the material was buried in the woods near the university in areas that are now part of Spring Valley.
Northwest Current
October 24, 2012 (pg. 7)

Oct 27, 2012

3rd Deep Well Sampling Confirms Groundwater Arsenic Exceedances


In Spring 2012, perchlorate and arsenic were both detected above the current drinking water standards in several well depth intervals as deep as 160 feet. These detections were unexpected based on previous sampling results from the other deep wells.  Purging and re-sampling of all MP-2 intervals were completed in July 2012 to confirm that these arsenic and perchlorate detections are truly representative of groundwater chemistry in the aquifer, and to ensure that these detections were not influenced by well construction.  Analytical laboratory results confirmed the previous detections at groundwater flow depths between 35 feet and 160 feet below ground surface (bgs).
Spring Valley RAB


Oct 17, 2012

Spring Valley Follow-Up Health Study Launched by Johns Hopkins

John Hopkins University Researchers are asking residents and workers to complete a survey about their health issues in an effort to evaluate the impact of World War I-era chemical contamination in the Spring Valley area.  The study is open to anyone who lives or works — or has done either in the past — in Zip codes 20015 or 20016.  Residents of those Zip codes who live outside of Spring Valley itself will be used as the study's control group. Information about the study and links to download the survey or complete online are available at jhsph.edu/springvalley; hard copies are also available at the Tenley-Friendship Public Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue, NW.
John Hopkins University

 Last month, researchers from Johns Hopkins University began conducting an extensive D.C.-funded survey into health issues in Spring Valley and surrounding neighborhoods.  The work will continue through Nov. 16.  It’s a follow-up to a 2007 study examining the health effects of World War I-era chemical contamination stemming from the U.S. Army’s use of the area for munitions testing.  The earlier work found an elevated incidence of arsenic-related cancer in Spring Valley compared to Chevy Chase, which was used as the study’s control group ...

We’re glad to see this long-awaited study in progress, but we fear that the means of distribution will limit participation.  It’s available at jhsph.edu/springvalley ... But we wish that researchers had mailed the survey to every resident of Spring Valley.  Not everyone would respond, but at least the less computer-literate — and those who simply didn’t know about the study previously — would have had easy access.  Even now, copies should be made available at more community gathering places.  The Spring Valley advisory neighborhood commission’s Nov. 7 meeting — as well as the neighborhood’s polling place the day before — would be particularly opportune.

Editorial

Northwest Current
October 17, 2012 (pg. 10)

Sep 30, 2012

University Students Barred from Advisory Board Membership


The Spring Valley Restoration Advisory Board recently announced that students cannot participate in board discussions on the basis that they are not permanent D.C. residents ... The Eagle would like to point out a few factors: 
 
First, although each individual student at AU only lives in D.C. for about four years, AU is not moving and the Spring Valley community will always have a student presence in the area.  The AU student body is a permanent resident and therefore deserves a say.
 
Second, D.C. is a transient city.  Every four years (or more often than that), new rotations of politicians move into the D.C. metropolitan area.  Members of the House of Representatives are potentially only here for two years.  As populations other than students come and go, it seems that the board’s members are targeting students specifically.  
  
Third, AU students do their research.  When students become involved with something, they study it ... Board members may be concerned that students won’t understand the jargon or complexity of neighborhood issues.  This may be a legitimate concern at a different university, but at AU, if students are given the opportunity to represent themselves, they take it.

 
[1.1.] The purpose of the Board is to provide a forum and mechanism to ensure: a) independent community awareness, b) review and assessment of proposed actions by the Corps and c) the Corps’ consideration of community concerns as they proceed with environmental testing, analysis, remediation and restoration of the Spring Valley neighborhood, pursuant to the contamination and potentially dangerous material remaining in ground as a result of activities of the American University Experimental Station, a Formerly Used Defense Site ...
 
[3.1.3.] The community members are individual residents and/or workers in the area who may be affected by environmental restoration activities in the Spring Valley FUDS, and who provide their advice, opinions and judgments as individuals ...
  
[4.2.2.] Community members selected for the Spring Valley RAB must live and/or work in the affected community, or be affected by the installation’s environmental restoration program.

Sep 18, 2012

Mother of Two Appeals to Spring Valley RAB Over Denied Relocation

DIETERICH (Resident, 4830 Glenbrook Road)There is a really immediate direct risk to our property — much more than anyone else in the neighborhood ... The Army Corps in the mean time has twice rejected our request — we are getting only "no's," so we ask for your support to be relocated. I don't want our children to be in that house when the Army is digging for chemical weapons just yards from our property ... There are enormous risks, there are enormous uncertainties about what they're going to find ... Things go wrong. It's a marginal risk. Not a high one, but a marginal risk when it comes to highly poisonous substances is too big a risk for my children.
 
WHISNANT (Principal, Horace Mann Elementary School): We certainly have been promoting walking to school ... and they're walking access is along Glenbrook Road. We have been in touch with AU about the possibility of using their back gate as an alternate route or that is something that can be disbanded  The presence of those two children across the street cannot be easily rerouted and disbanded unless, I think, this Restoration Advisory Board has a voice that says (I don't know how you talk about "acceptable risk" when there is no acceptable risk) remove them and support their removal. 

Spring Valley RAB Meeting 

Christine Dieterich, who lives directly across the street from the site at 4825 Glenbrook Road with two children, said she is worried about adverse effects from chemicals will harm her family during the construction.  The Army Corps denied her two requests for the Corps to pay for her temporary relocation because the construction would be monitored and precautions were in place.
          
“Systems fail, things go wrong and engineers are human, not God,” Dieterich said during the Spring Valley meeting on Sept. 11.  Dieterich appealed to the board, but members said they could not make a decision until they had more evidence of the site’s risks.  However, only Corps Headquarters would be able to overturn the current decision.  Dr. Peter deFur, an environmental scientist who served on the National Research Council Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, will release a study on the construction site’s chemical risks. 

The Eagle 
September 20, 2012 (pg. 6)

The house to be demolished at 4825 Glenbrook Rd is approximately 45 feet from the near edge of Glenbrook Road, the road is about 30 feet wide, for a total distance of about 75 feet from the house to the property boundary across the street ... The Corps makes assumptions about the worst that might happen, termed the Maximum Credible Event -- what might occur if the containment failed with a chemical release, in this case a liter of arsenic trichloride.  The Corps estimates that a person needs to be more than 161 feet from such a release in order to experience only minor discomfort from the release.  For distance less than 161 feet from a release, a person needs to take precautions to remain safe in the event of a release.  
September 18, 2012

Aug 9, 2012

New Approach Needed to Destroy Buried CWM at 250 Military Sites

WASHINGTON — The current approach for identifying and destroying buried chemical munitions and related chemical warfare materials uncovered during environmental remediation projects is neither reliable enough nor has the capability to efficiently tackle large-scale projects, says a new report from the National Research Council ...
Remediation of Buried Chemical Warfare Materiel
Following a 1985 directive from Congress, the Army has undertaken the monumental task of destroying the existing U.S. stockpile of chemical weapons. To date, 90 percent of the stockpile has been destroyed, and the remaining 10 percent is expected to be destroyed by 2022. However, during the early- to mid-20th century, chemical weapons and chemical warfare materiel were often disposed of by open pit burning and burial at approximately 250 sites in 40 states, the District of Columbia and three territories.
Remediation of this buried materiel, in addition to environmental cleanup of the burial sites, therefore poses significant challenges to the nation and DOD. The report examines important regulatory issues that ultimately affect the need, timing, and costs of remediating these sites. Federal and state environmental remediation policies address whether buried CWM must be excavated and destroyed or contained in place ...

US FUDS with Buried Chemical WMD
The report recommends as a "matter of urgency" that the secretary of defense increase funding for the remediation of chemical warfare materiel to enable the Army to complete the inventories of known and suspected buried chemical munitions no later than 2013.
Remediation of Buried Chemical Warfare Materiel
National Academy of Sciences
August 6 2012

Aug 6, 2012

Family Asks to be Relocated During Demolition of Glenbrook House

A family on Glenbrook Road has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to pay for them to rent a home while the house across from theirs -- at 4825 Glenbrook -- is demolished ... The resident, who asked that her name not be published, has a 1-year-old and a 5-year-old and is worried that a problem could occur during the demolition. She said in an interview that her request was rejected by the Corps and has since gone to the appeal level. Dan Noble, co-chair of the Spring Valley Restoration Advisory Board and project manager of the area's cleanup, said he could not comment, as the matter is in the midst of "a formal legal process."

USACE Poster Session (7/17/12)
The Corps had hoped to knock down 4825 Glenbrook during the university's summer vacation, but because of delays in getting approval, work will probably take place this fall. "We can accommodate demolition during the school year," said [project manager Brenda] Barber, adding that the work should take between two and three weeks and be completed by the end of fall. Barber said additional engineering work must be done to protect adjacent properties, including the home of American University President Neil Kerwin and the South Korean ambassador's residence. "We are working very closely with AU," she said. Once work starts, Barber said, the Corps will post weekly updates on the project website, which can be found at tinyurl.com/corps-cleanup.
Northwest Current
July 25, 2012 (pg. 5)

Jul 12, 2012

Corps will Detail House Demolition Plan at Public Meeting Tuesday

A combined Restoration Advisory Board / Community Meeting will be held at the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church beginning at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, July 17. The purpose of this meeting is to share details on the Army's Demolition and Disposal Plan for 4825 Glenbrook Road NW, which outlines how the house at the property will be removed and the debris disposed of. The meeting will be in the second floor Great Hall of the church located at 3401 Nebraska Avenue. Parking is available at the church.
Spring Valley FUDS Project Summary

June 2012



The house at 4825 Glenbrook Road ... will be removed in accordance with the approved Demolition and Disposal Plan. Details of the plan include using an excavator to systematically dismantle the interior and exterior of the house from top to bottom. To ensure the safety of the workers and the community, any part of the house that comes into contact with subsurface soils, including the basement slab and exterior basement walls, will remain in place and will be removed as part of the environmental cleanup action. House removal will take approximately two weeks, with activities Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Decision Document Fact Sheet

(7/12/12)

Jun 27, 2012

Advisory Board Ponders Impact of Stricter EPA Arsenic Standard

The Spring Valley Restoration Advisory Board this month heard about the stricter standards the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reportedly developing to measure safe levels of arsenic in soil and drinking water. Changes would mean that all the figures the Army Corps has used to determine soil safety in its Spring Valley cleanup "could be thrown out," board member Lee Monsein said at the board's June 12 meeting.

The Army Corps has been working to cleanup chemical and explosive munitions and related debris from the Spring Valley area since 1993. During World War I, the Army used American University as a testing site, firing weapons into the then-undeveloped woods around campus.


Nan Wells, an advisory neighborhood commissioner for the area, asked if the Army would have to clean up additional areas when the environmental agency sets new safety standards. The Army's Dan Noble, who co-chairs the advisory board, responded: "We are never going to walk away from a FUDS [Formerly Used Defense Site] site."

Northwest Current
June 27, 2012 ( pg. 5)

Jun 14, 2012

Glenbrook Rd. Deep Well Exceeds Arsenic MCL Down to 160 Feet

Multi-port deep well across street from Pit 3
Todd Beckwith (Project Manager): We collected two samples from this well. We did an initial sample in March and we went back out in April and collected another set of samples. So everything here highlighted in yellow represents chemistry results that were above the drinking water criteria. For both perchlorate and arsenic in these deeper intervals we're seeing some elevated concentrations ... The arsenic results were a little bit surprising. Back in 2005 - 2006 we had exceeded the MCL [maximum contaminant level] -- the 10 ppb standard -- just barely.

It was 10.5 then and since that time all of our sampling results for arsenic across all of Spring Valley have all been below 10 ppb, so we're a little surprised to see these concentrations ... We're going to go out and do some purging of this well; we'll pump a lot of water out of each one of those depth intervals. After we've done that, we'll collect a sample to make sure that the sample we send to the lab is truly representative of what's in that formation and the chemistry that we're seeing there hasn't been influenced by well construction activity.
Spring Valley FUDS

RAB Meeting Minutes
June 12, 2012

May 16, 2012

After 7 Months Cleanup Plan Still Awaiting Army Brass Signature

Army officials will likely grant final approval this month to demolish the house at 4825 Glenbrook Road, the site of a suspected burial pit of World War I-era debris. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to raze the house in July and excavate the site through summer 2013 ... The cleanup work at the property, which will remove potentially contaminated soil down to bedrock, will also encroach on the neighboring house at 4835 Glenbrook, now occupied by American University’s president. 
   
The Army Corps believes that property may include a possible “hot spot” of hazardous material beneath a retaining wall. Once the 4825 house is demolished, a protective cover will go over the excavation area to shield workers and neighbors from direct contact with possible contaminants. Workers will also install a chemical-agent filtration system, along with a generator and noise-control devices.
Northwest Current
May 16, 2012 (pg. 5)

May 9, 2012

Corps Will Investigate Last Nine "Areas of Interest" in Spring Valley

Plans are currently underway to perform additional soil sampling at four discrete areas, involving 18 residential properties and a portion of the AU campus ... The purpose of this additional sampling effort is to supplement the existing data to ensure sufficient information exists to make human health and ecological risk determinations. All sampling and investigative data, and the subsequent human health and ecological risk evaluations, will be presented in the site-wide Spring Valley Remedial Investigation report and available for public review upon its finalization (which is anticipated in 2014).
Kathleen Connell (RAB Member): Why was there a substantial delay between 1993 and 1999 and doing it now? If these were identified as properties that had potential interest, why was nothing done at that period of time?

Dan Noble
(Project Manager): We prioritized our requirements for the project. Each
year, as we got our money we spoke with the Partners about what needed to be done  and focused on what we felt needed to be done first. This effort is essentially collecting more data to further address some of the issues that came up during the 1999 EPA Risk Assessment ... This [investigation] would certainly bring an end to our field work, other than continued groundwater monitoring and the work at 4825 Glenbrook.
Spring Valley FUDS
RAB Meeting Minutes
May 8, 2012

Boldface AOI's remain to be investigated

May 1, 2012

University Says It Paid to Ensure Quicker, More "Focused" Cleanup

AU hired a lobbying firm to ensure the Army Corps of Engineers’ Spring Valley project would remain a priority of the U.S. government and maintain adequate funding ... The University employed D.C.-based Cassidy and Associates from 2005 to 2009. The annual expense for the company’s services was a little under $145,000 ...

"The University’s efforts benefited not only AU but the Spring Valley community by keeping the Corps funded and focused,” [assistant vice president for communications & media Camille] Lepre said. “During the term of the engagement, funding for the cleanup was increased substantially, enabling work to be completed in a much shorter time frame than originally planned.”

Alex Greco
The Eagle
May 1, 2012 (pg. 8)

Apr 17, 2012

Army Will Compare University Plume, Sibley Hospital Perchlorate

In order to determine whether the two perchlorate plumes (at AU and Sibley) originated from the same source, USACE is collecting and will be analyzing perchlorate samples using isotopic analysis. In March a perchlorate sample was collected on the AU campus from an existing well [PZ-4] where elevated levels of perchlorate have previously been detected.

A perchlorate sample will also be collected near Sibley Memorial Hospital in April 2012. Perchlorate is comprised of chlorine and oxygen, and specific isotope ratios of these elements can reveal information about the perchlorate source. This effort involves continuous groundwater pumping and filtration at each location for several days to separate and collect a sufficient amount of perchlorate that can then be analyzed.
Spring Valley FUDS Project Summary

March 2012

Apr 10, 2012

Anomaly Investigation Yields Cultural Debris, No Munitions

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continued its search for buried WWI-era military materials on AU's campus over spring break, but this latest effort in the 19-year investigation yielded no results ... The Corps also dug four trenches in the Kreeger parking lot and roadway to investigate whether "anomalies," or metallic objects previously used by the Army, were buried there ...

No anomalies were found, only construction debris and litter such as Coke bottles, according to the Spring Valley Community Outreach Team. After the investigations, the trenches were repaved, and the Kreeger parking lot was reopened for use. The entire process took place over spring break, as requested by AU, to reduce any disruptions for students.
Ryan Migeed
The Eagle
April 10, 2012 (pg. 5)


2.5-Acre Kreeger Area Anomaly Investigation

Mar 21, 2012

Fordham Road Holdout at Possible Burial Pit Still Thwarting Cleanup

Project manager Dan Noble reported that he has been unable to gain access to a home in the 3700 block of Fordham Road, where he suspects there might be another burial pit of potentially dangerous chemicals ... Old photos of the site show a series of trenches in other areas that led to burial pits. There is also a 1918 aerial photo showing a scar on the ground that looks similar to scars where other buried munitions have been found.
   
Noble said Army headquarters will make a decision as to whether to take legal action to gain admission to the property, depending on the danger it might pose to the neighbors and the general community ... Four readings taken at the site had arsenic counts greater than 20 parts per million -- the agreed-upon safe limit -- and "one as high as 107."

Northwest Current
March 21, 2012 (pg. 4)
Sedgwick Trench below & left of 52nd Court Trench
Identified as the Sedgwick Trench.  The Army performed extensive field testing of chemical warfare agents such as mustard, phosgene, chloropicrin, and cyanogen chloride at this site.  The Sedgwick Trench is comprised of circular trenches approximately 200 feet in diameter.  Livens and 75 millimeter shells with agent were statically fired in the center of the circular trenches.

Mar 13, 2012

RAB Member Insists $230 Million Cleanup "Not Worth the Money"

Now, the cleanup of what was known as the American University Experiment Station is nearing a crucial point. This spring, the Army Corps of Engineers plans to tear down a house that may be atop a lost burial pit that an Army sergeant called “Hades” in a grainy 1918 photograph. That photograph ... has provided the surest clue to the pit’s location, which has been one of the most elusive mysteries in the nearly 20-year cleanup ...

More than 1,600 properties have been tested for arsenic, and the Army has removed tons of tainted soil, destroyed more than 1,000 munitions and carted off intact bottles of chemicals ... “What’s the risk to any of us in this community?” asked Dr. Lee H. Monsein, a radiologist who sits on the project advisory board. “Very, very low. What’s the cost to remove that risk, or mitigate that risk? Very, very expensive. Is it worth the money? Absolutely not."

The exact location of the Maurer pit, as it is known, has remained a question. The corps believes, based on the photograph and other evidence, that a home next to the ambassador’s was built atop the pit, which may have been disturbed or even removed during construction ... Still, doubters remain. Kent Slowinski, a landscaper who grew up in the neighborhood and remains one of the corps’ most outspoken critics, believes the pit is higher on the hillside. “We keep finding out one thing after another where the Army corps says one thing and it turns out not to be true, and the situation turns out to be much worse than what they told us,” he said.
Theo Emery
New York Times
March 18, 2012 (pg. A-17)

Mar 4, 2012

Feds Spent $75,000 to Examine Glenbrook Road Health Concerns

Recently, ATSDR [Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry] began preparing a health consultation focused specifically on the 4825 Glenbrook Road site. This document is being prepared ... to assess possible health concerns for the construction workers who built the house and the family who lived in the house. A total of $75,000 was allocated by USACE Headquarters for the 4825 Glenbrook Road health consultation in fiscal year (FY) 2011 and FY 2012 ...


The Army Corps felt that contamination identified during high probability test pit investigations between November 2009 and March 2010 could be related to descriptions of anecdotal construction worker exposures at the 4825 Glenbrook Road site. Findings that corroborated with these anecdotal reports included chemical agent in soil and intact AUES-related glassware containing chemicals such as arsenic trichloride. These findings were unique compared to data generated previously at the site, including the Pit 3 area, and at other burial pits in Spring Valley.


Jim Sweeney, District Department of the Environment, clarified that he has not seen the draft document. The draft ATSDR report was reviewed by DDOE’s Public Information Office, and he has not seen the draft report or the comments provided by his agency. DDOE will hopefully have the opportunity to review the rewritten draft final report.

Nan Wells, ANC-3D Commissioner: Was a technical review conducted by the Public Information Office?

J. Sweeney was not familiar with the degree of technical involvement during the draft report review.
RAB Meeting Minutes
January 10, 2012 (pgs. 9 - 13)

Feb 22, 2012

Army Corps' Evolving Assessment of Pit's Likely Location Roils RAB

On the university campus, investigations will continue next month during students’ spring break, according to [project manager Dan] Noble. Cleanup crews will be looking at four spots on the Kreeger Hall roadway and parking lot ... The university-owned property at 4825 Glenbrook Road remains a topic of scrutiny. Noble said the Army Corps remains confident the property was a major burial pit for jars of mustard agent and other war debris, based on a 1918 photograph of a Sgt. Maurer along with aerial photographs from the same year. But Allen Hengst, a longtime critic of the cleanup effort who works at the university, said his own studies show that the “Sgt. Maurer Pit” is more likely across from the university’s Watkins Building.
Northwest Current
February 22, 2012 (pg. 7)


Investigative trench in Kreeger Roadway on AU campus (USACE)
USACE feels that the geo-referenced locations of the three possible burial pits, as outlined in the 2000 EPIC report, may have suffered from splicing errors ... The December 2000 EPIC report conclusion that "Site 3' is the most likely location for POI 24 is no longer considered the best assessment for the location of POI 24 ... USACE is not denying that the EPIC report identified ‘Site 3’ as situated on the AU campus, but based on further analysis of geo-referencing discrepancies, USACE believes that there is doubt regarding the EPIC report’s 2000 conclusions.

... [Project Manager Dan] Noble confirmed that part of the area containing the possible pit locations outlined in the December 2000 EPA EPIC Terrestrial Photogrammetry Report is currently under investigation as part of the 2.5-acre AU Kreeger Hall area anomaly investigation. A total of 4 trenches will be dug in March 2012, with the goal of investigating large anomalous areas identified during geophysical data review. This effort will provide further evidence as to whether another disposal pit is present. As mentioned at the January 2012 RAB meeting, these trenches are located very close to, if not co-located with, T. Slonecker’s estimated burial pit locations.
RAB Meeting Minutes
February 14, 2012 (pgs. 10 -14)

Background: The EPA Environmental Photographic Interpretation Center (EPIC) reviewed several historical aerial photographs of the Spring Valley area. The USACE and regulatory partners at EPA and D.C. Health (now DDOE) reviewed the results of EPIC's work, and based on this information, decided to investigate the property adjacent to a property where two burial pits were removed between March 1999 and March 2000.
4825 Glenbrook Road News
USACE Web Site

Feb 12, 2012

Trench Digging in Four Anomalous Areas Near Kreeger Set for March

We’re looking for buried metallic objects we call anomalies,” said Clem Gaines, public affairs specialist at the Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore. The Army Corps used metal detectors to find burial sites where the Army discarded materials used when AU was an “experimental station,” Gaines said ... The Army Corps still needs to dig under the Kreeger parking lot in four different locations. The Army Corps is waiting until spring break to continue digging, Gaines said.
Ryan Migeed
The Eagle
February 7, 2012 (pg. 8)

In January, field teams intrusively investigated 18 single-point anomalies in the American University (AU) Kreeger Hall area. No WWI-related items were recovered. All the anomalies were classified as cultural debris, such as scrap metal and construction debris. Trench digging within the 4 anomalous areas in the paved area near Kreeger Hall is tentatively scheduled for March 2012. Because this effort will require removal of small portions of the Kreeger Hall parking lot, the investigation is scheduled during AU’s Spring break to minimize potential disruptions to campus life.
Spring Valley FUDS Project Summary
January 2012
 
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