Nov 22, 2013

Itinerant Digital FUDS Archive Moves for 2nd Time this Year

Our selected archived Spring Valley project documents have been moved and are now at http://springvalley.ertcorp.com/.  These documents were most recently housed on a SharePoint site that required a username and password.  This new site is public and does not require a username and password to assist in ease of access to these selected archived project documents.

Editor's note:  i.e.  for the second time in 2013 the Spring Valley FUDS project archive has been moved to a new website,  once again changing all previously bookmarked URLs.
 75mm under Glenbrook Road front porch

Nov 12, 2013

Perchlorate Levels Next to Kreeger Hall "Went Up Significantly"

Up on American University in front of Kreeger Hall we have wells PZ-4, MW-45 and MW-44 all within twenty feet of one another ... MW-44 is a more recent well that we sampled in March and September of 2012.  When we first sampled it was 33, 34, 36 parts per billion; it looks like it went up a little bit in April to about 41 ppb at 80 - 95 feet.  And then 45(S) and 45(D) at 120 feet and about 150 feet: when we first sampled that in September 2012, it looked like there were relatively low levels of perchlorate, but then when we sampled it again in May the concentration went up significantly [to 54 ppb].
... We're going to continue our semi-annual and quarterly sampling efforts.  We have a sampling event planned next month in December and we'll also sample again in June.  For the quarterly sampling locations, we'll sample in March and September as well ... When we determine that we have sufficient data to define the nature and extent of contamination, we'll begin writing the draft remedial investigation report.  We'll also need to sit down with EPA 
and the District to talk about what these results mean.
Todd Beckwith, USACE
RAB Meeting
November 12, 2013

Nov 2, 2013

Utility Undertakes Long Overdue Spring Valley Water Main Upgrade

DC Water is performing water main upgrades within Spring Valley as part of its Capital Improvement Program.  These upgrades are designed to improve water quality, system reliability, water pressure, and improve available fire flow ... Since the existing water mains were constructed after American University Experiment Station was closed, it is unlikely that any chemical warfare or explosive materials will be encountered during construction of the water main upgrades.
... DC Water has adopted a conservative approach to reduce risk, including performing soil testing by coring through the pavement and collecting samples for laboratory analysis; minimizing excavation by lining water mains where existing pipe size is adequate and replacing water mains in the same trench where pipe upsizing is needed; providing hazards recognition training for construction crews; and having an unexploded ordnance specialist present to observe excavation work.
DC Water & Sewer Authority
Spring Valley Water Main Upgrade Project
November 1, 2013

Oct 22, 2013

150 Tons of Lewisite Dumped in Chesapeake Bay as WW I Ended

In 1917, the chemistry building at Catholic University was turned over to the War Department and a team of chemists under the direction of Capt. Winford Lee Lewis began refining mustard gas. They found Nieuwland's thesis and refined his discovery into Lewisite ... One hundred fifty tons of Lewisite were produced in Willoughby, Ohio and shipped to Edgewood arsenal in 516 steel 50 gallon drums.  These had just arrived at the Bush River Depot when the war ended on November 11, 1917.  The author believes these were dumped in the Chesapeake Bay 50 miles from Baltimore ...
Many chemical shells from Aberdeen PG were dumped offshore in the Atlantic, starting with the steamer Elinor in 1918.  In the 1960s, during operation CHASE (Cut Holes And Sink Em), barges and boats of chemical ordnance were sunk along the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, Hawaiian and Panamanian coasts.  These were usually dumped in very deep water.  However, WWII era chemical bombs, drums or one ton cylinders always contained an air space to allow the agent to expand in hot weather.  This can cause thin skinned munitions or drums to float or be light enough to roll into shore in heavy weather.
75mm projectile found in Washington D.C. dump

Oct 6, 2013

Two Saw Horses with 20-Foot Gap Can't Secure High Probability Site

Earlier this week, our security guard encountered a trespasser on the site and handled the situation according to our established operational security procedures.  Glenbrook Road is an active construction/remediation site.  Unauthorized visitors are not allowed at the site because it violates our safety and security protocols.  The most prevalent safety concerns are trips, slips, and falls. We brief our site crews and visitors on the key safety issues at the site on a daily basis.

 
Additionally, security is another key component of our protocols for the site.  We do have armed Special Police Officers at the site during all non-working times to provide security.  We have taken all necessary steps to conduct operations in a safe manner and to protect the public at all times, which means no authorized visitors are allowed on the site.  This requirement is meant to protect not only the public, but also our site workers.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 

Two saw horses — 20 feet apart — are the only public warning on the site perimeter that the area is restricted in any way.  These so-called "barriers" (next to blue arrow below) are located on the right-hand, eastern edge of the Army Corps' restricted area.  There are no signs indicating that the area just outside the lower level exit of Watkins Building (orange arrow on right) has been restricted by the Army Corps.  Nor are there any signs indicating that it has been restricted in any way, if you approach the army trailers from the athletic fields to the north (other orange arrow).

Sep 20, 2013

High Probability Dig Resumes after Clearing 3½-Year CERCLA Hurdle

A crucial and potentially risky step in the cleanup of a former chemical weapons dumping site near American University begins Monday.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says there is "high probability" they will discover more debris at the former American University Experiment Station, where the Army tested chemical weapons during World War I ...Previous digging and research indicates the likely presence of mustard gas and lewisite -- an arsenic-containing blister agent -- under the former home.  
"The reason we decided to remove the house is we did see scattered debris around the property and we do have some concerns that there may be additional debris underneath the foundation and the floor of the home," says [project manager] Brenda Barber ... With near-real-time air monitoring for chemical agents and industrial compounds, Barber says preparations have been made to ensure the neighborhood is safe.  "If there is a release under the engineering control structure it will be confined to the treatment system, and there will be no release to the public" says Barber.
Neal Augenstein
WTOP-FM
September 20, 2013  

For more than 20 years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been conducting clean-up operations to remove World War I materiel discovered at various locations on or near the American University main campus and throughout the Spring Valley neighborhood ... On September 23, 2013, the Army Corps is scheduled to resume excavation activities along Glenbrook Road, which parallels the southern border of AU’s campus, as designated on the attached map.  The Army Corps has conducted work on that site (4825 Glenbrook Road) for the past 10 years ...
The area of primary focus for the dedicated safety measures on the AU campus is the southwest corner of campus including the Watkins Building and the edge of the Jacobs Field.  The Army Corps has deployed an emergency notification system, which includes sirens, strobe lights, and an automated telephone/email notification system.   This system will be tested on a monthly basis, on the first Wednesday of each month at 4:05 p.m.
David Taylor, President’s Chief of Staff

Army Corps of Engineers Resumption of Activities
September 18, 2013

Sep 11, 2013

Spring Valley Health Studies Deemed "Inconclusive by Design"

In his Aug. 14 letter to the editor, Malcolm Pritzker quarrels with The Current’s Aug. 7 editorial, which criticized the recently completed Johns Hopkins School of Public Health community health study because it “failed to scratch the surface” of a “host of rare health problems among Spring Valley residents” ... Hopkins’ convenient reliance on the [D.C. Cancer] Registry means the study ignored all non-cancer cases such as immune deficiency, autoimmune disorders and blood disorders (including aplastic anemia, pernicious anemia and multiple myeloma); ignored all cases from the 65 years prior to the registry; and ignored clusters of rare diseases that struck residents living on the same properties over a period of time ...

What went wrong?  In short, if you forget that your mission is to protect against further illness, don’t be surprised if you draft an incomplete statement of work, select the wrong contractor and obtain a useless result.  Weak contract management, with no requirement for in-progress reports and no review process, can only make matters worse.
Kent Slowinski
Northwest Current
September 11, 2013 (pg. 9)

Two federal agencies, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ADSTR), bear the primary responsibility for safeguarding the nation's environmental health ... Both of these agencies have routinely funded and conducted studies of effects of toxic pollution on public health which are inconclusive by design.  These intentionally inconclusive studies have been used by polluters and government officials to mislead citizens into believing that further measures to prevent toxic exposures are unnecessary.
Inconclusive by Design

Russell, Lewis & Keating
May 1992

I wrote to Hopkins several times offering to provide a list of folks from that period who lived on Rockwood Parkway, Glenbrook Road, Indian Lane, Quebec Street, 49th Street, et cetera for follow-up.  I got one response to the three letters I sent, promising to contact me in “the future.”  I’m still waiting ... the children who grew up in Spring Valley and who spent many hours playing in those woods and around those bunkers, as my brother and I and our friends did, should have been looked at ...  Many of us have died; I have no sense of whether the numbers or the causes are anomalous, but we’ll never know.  Nobody asked for the information.
Patricia Meyers

Northwest Current
September 18, 2013 (pg. 10)

Aug 9, 2013

Army Corps Tests Readiness in Drill with Local Emergency Responders

 Project Mgr. Brenda Barber briefs AU Pres. Neil Kerwin
The team was inspected by the Huntsville District to assess their readiness to begin work.  During the inspection, the teams ran various scenarios to train for the upcoming high probability operations.  The scenarios allow the teams to prepare for a wide variety of conditions and/or discoveries at the site, such as, a medical emergency, equipment failure, chemical detections, etc.  
Inside the ECS (Engineering Control Structure)
Also, USACE facilitated a Tabletop Exercise with the team and local emergency responders ... During the upcoming week, the teams will continue to train in preparation for high probability.  On Wednesday, September 4th at 4:05 pm, USACE will begin conducting the monthly test of the Shelter in Place notification system.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Glenbrook Road Weekly Update
August 30, 2013
Class-A protective gear

Aug 6, 2013

Spring Valley Stakeholders Dispute Conclusions of JHSPH Health Study

A long-awaited community health study has concluded that Spring Valley residents generally enjoy better health than the nation as a whole, but adds that slight upticks in the incidence of certain cancers could be related to arsenic exposure ... Nan Wells, an advisory neighborhood commissioner who has been active on the issue, said she has heard concerns about clusters of diseases among "people who lived on certain properties" where contaminants were buried.   Those families should be tracked, if possible, she said.  And there are still some homeowners who have not allowed the Army onto their properties, including one site that some believe contains a "significant burial pit" ...
 So out of all the thousands [41,000] of people, 865 responded," one audience member countered.  "Nobody got a mailing, nobody went door-to-door.  People without computers were left out, and many diseases were left out.  Isolated seniors who don't have computers wouldn't even know.  I don't think it gives a clear picture of Spring Valley." 
July 31, 2013 (pg. 1)
  
For decades, Spring Valley residents were unknowingly living above buried chemical weapons, gardening in arsenic-contaminated soil and otherwise facing risks associated with haphazard disposal practices dating back to World War I.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has spent millions in the last 20 years on remediation for the community, but evidence suggests that for some residents the damage has been done.  A survey taken by this newspaper in 2004 found a host of rare health problems among Spring Valley residents, potentially attributable to the neighborhood's chemical contamination ... But a new community health study conducted by Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health has failed to scratch the surface.
Editorial

Jul 22, 2013

Dr. Richard Albright Featured as Guest Writer on UXO News Site

UXOInfo.com welcomes UXO guest author Dr. Richard D. Albright, a local chemical weapons and ordnance expert who holds a Bachelor's from the University of Michigan, a Master of Science in Environmental Health from George Washington University and Doctorate from Wayne State.  A former Army officer, he wrote a science bestseller, Cleanup of Chemical and Explosive Munitions, now in its second edition; as well as two more books on munitions and their constituents: Death of the Chesapeake and Poisoning the World's Women and Infants: The Story of Perchlorate ... 
 
A scuba diver since 1956, Dr. Albright met with the famed Jacques Cousteau on his many trips to the Great Lakes.  It was during these early diving experiences that Albright became aware of underwater ordnance issues ... UXOInfo.com is pleased to introduce Dr. Albright as a guest writer and look forward to a new series of fascinating articles based of his years of UXO experience.

Jul 13, 2013

Johns Hopkins Releases Results from Spring Valley Health Study

The cancer analysis revealed two statistically significant findings; lymphoma incidence rate differences between the study areas and the lung and bronchus mortality rate trend in the Spring Valley area.  Lymphoma incidence in the 2005 - 2009 period was higher in the Spring Valley area than in the Chevy Chase area ... Lung and bronchus mortality rates were lower in both study areas than the US on average; however, the increasing rate trends for lung and bronchus are concerning ...  
Given the significant limitations resulting from lack of exposure data, disease latency, and time lag (approaching 100 years since AUES activities) it is not possible to make a definitive determination of cause and effect for health outcomes observed in surveillance data or reported by residents ... The findings of increasing cancer incidence and mortality trends running counter to US trends raise a general public health concern for both Spring Valley and Chevy Chase areas.
July 3013 (pgs. 12 - 13)

Jul 4, 2013

Worker Claims Munition Debris Also Buried Under 4835 Glenbrook

 4835 Glenbrook Road
The Army Corps received a transcript of a March 2013 interview with a construction worker who helped build the houses at 4825 and 4835 Glenbrook Road in 1992.  At the July 9th RAB meeting, project manager Dan Noble reported that the worker saw World War I munitions debris buried underneath both houses (1:32), Brandt Construction tried to move excess soil from this location to a third Spring Valley property but it was refused due to the odor, and the Corps turned the transcript over to its contractor [Watermark, Inc.] who is conducting a Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) investigation.

Noble said that names are mentioned in the transcript (2:39) and the investigator will try to track them down.  Noble admitted that only a single boring in the center of the basement was ever done by the Corps to investigate underneath 4835 Glenbrook Road (10:43). 

Jun 25, 2013

Cleanup Site Field Work Continues Regardless of Impending Furlough

Engineering Control Structure (ECS) being built
In preparation for the high probability excavation work, the site construction team began building the Engineering Control Structure (ECS).  The construction of the tent will continue into July ... Although the high probability operations have been delayed due to the upcoming furlough, the site crew will continue to prepare the site so we are ready to begin high probability operations after the furlough ends.  
 
Chemical Agent Filtration System (CAFS)
It is important to note that field work will not halt at the site.  Upcoming site work will include completing the installation of the ECS, installing the remaining engineering controls, performing on-site training for the high probability excavation teams, and performing the pre-operational surveys and testing. 
Spring Valley FUDS
Project Update
June 2013

Jun 17, 2013

Sequester Delays Glenbrook Road High Probability Work Until Fall

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, has decided to modify the work schedule for high probability operations at 4825 Glenbrook Road ... The furlough will restrict the team to four 8-hour work days per week and overtime compensation will not be allowed, which restricts available work hours from our current schedule of 60 hours per week down to 32 hours per week ... Even the slightest potential that response capabilities might be degraded under furlough conditions led to the decision to delay high probability intrusive activities at the site.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Press Release
June 17, 2013
Recently, the Department of Defense published its furlough implementation guidance that directs the Military Departments to start furloughing their civilian work force.  The furlough period will begin the week of July 8 and continue for 11 weeks ... Given this guidance, COL J. Richard Jordan, III, Commander and District Engineer at the Baltimore District has made the decision to delay the start of the high probability work at 4825 Glenbrook Road during the proposed Department of Defense furlough period which is scheduled to end on September 21, 2013 ... Should the period of furloughs be shortened, we will quickly re-assess the schedule and begin work as soon as possible. 
Brenda Barber, Project Manager
Glenbrook Road Update
June 17, 2013

May 27, 2013

Suspect Test Tube Halts Intrusive Excavations at Cleanup Site

Late in the afternoon on Tuesday, May 21, the site crew encountered a suspect closed container item during our excavation behind the retaining wall in the backyard at 4825 Glenbrook Road ... The item is a test tube with approximately 1 inch of solids in the end. 
   Location of sealed ampule
It was encountered in the same vicinity as the auger hole where the 75mm munition debris item was discovered previously.  There were no air monitoring detections at any time during this incident.  Therefore, there was no risk to our workers or the community.  We implemented our safety protocols and secured the item.  We contacted the appropriate response agencies.  

CARA (Army response agency) transported the item to Edgewood on Wednesday, May 22.  CARA and ECBC (Army Lab) will analyze the contents of the item and report the results to USACE by Tuesday, May 28.  The project delivery team (PDT) will assess the situation once analysis results are provided.  At this time, no additional intrusive work will be performed at the site until we have an agreed upon path forward after the PDT review the analysis. 
Rebecca Yahiel, USACE
Glenbrook Road Neighborhood Update 
May 23, 2013

May 22, 2013

Augered Hole Uncovers Empty Cavity 75-Millimeter Munition

The Spring Valley munitions cleanup project recently uncovered an empty 75-millimeter shell and small pieces of glassware, which the Army Corps of Engineers found to be harmless, officials recently told the Restoration Advisory Board ... The contamination stems from American University's use as an Army testing station during World War I, when munitions and other materiel were left in the woods that became the Spring Valley community.  The Army will also soon install a protective tent over a portion of the Glenbrook property where officials expect to find a contaminated burial pit of chemical munitions — under the basement of a house that was demolished on the site.
Northwest Current
May 22, 2013 (pg. 4)
   

While the crews were auguring the holes for the soldier pile, a 75mm munitions debris item and some small pieces of glassware were found at 4825 Glenbrook Road ... An Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team (Tech Escort) and the Municipal Police were contacted.  Tech Escort arrived on site and X-rayed the round.  The item was empty and does not contain explosives; this classifies the item as munitions debris. All tests for the presence of chemical agent were negative. The item is being stored at the Federal Property until it can be disposed of as scrap.
May 10, 2013
 X-rayed 75mm artillery shell

Apr 9, 2013

Preparations Continue for Erection of "Engineering Control Structure"

The Corps of Engineers will use a large (60 feet by 82.5 feet) Engineering Control Structure (ECS) with a Chemical Agent Filtration System (CAFS) during the high probability work.  The ECS will fully enclose the excavation. The CAFS keeps the ECS under negative pressure by continuously pulling, filtering and cleaning all the air leaving the control structure ... The MCE [maximum credible event] for this activity is the evaporative release of one liter of arsenic trichloride over a one-hour period.
If there were no engineering controls in place, the Temporary Emergency Exposure Limit distance for this MCE would be 194 feet, which impacts eight residents and Watkins Hall on American University (AU).  If warranted, due to the highly improbable failure of the ECS and CAFS at the same time there is a release, the Corps of Engineers will implement another precautionary measure for both the workers and neighbors within 194 feet: a Shelter-in-Place alert and notification system.
The Corps'pondent

Apr 5, 2013

Start of Glenbrook High Probability Digging Postponed until Summer

 
Work has begun at the university-owned site (4825 Glenbrook Road) for what is hoped will be the final phase of the effort to find and safely remove any remaining World War I debris from that property ... In May, the work will shift into a new phase and a containment structure will be built over the excavation site; air filtration and monitoring equipment installed; and additional safety instruction will be provided for areas of the university within a defined zone adjacent to the site.  This would include the Watkins and Kreeger buildings, the Jacobs athletics field, and the President’s House.  When the specific work timeline is known, those working in the affected areas will be informed of safety measures and protocols, which will be posted on the AU website dedicated to the project.
April 3, 2013
 Crew excavates last test pit at 4825 Glenbrook
This week crews continued the installation process for the trench to support utility relocation at the site. Utility relocation will take approximately two more weeks ... As an added layer of safety, air monitoring was used during all excavations ... During the week of April 8, crews will relocate and re-establish the sewer line.  The water line will be relocated and re-established the week of April 15.  
We anticipate starting the high probability excavation work this summer ... Recently we have had weather delays and issues related to the relocation of the site utilities ... Due to the deeper location of the utilities more expansive trenches are required, which increases the complexity of the work ... Crews will work some limited Fridays and Saturdays from now until June to make up for the schedule delays to minimize an impact to the completion of the project.
4825 Glenbrook Road
Weekly Update
April 5, 2013

Mar 28, 2013

EPA Admits It Cannot Enforce Provisions of Executive Order

EPA recognizes the entirely understandable concern that your clients and their parents have regarding USACE's cleanup work so close to their home.  However, for reasons detailed below, EPA does not believe that the actions you have requested are appropriate or necessary at this time ... EPA's CERCLA guidance for assessing risks and conducting cleanups, which governs USACE's work at the Spring Valley site, recognizes that children (as well as health-compromised adults) may be more sensitive to environmental exposures than the general public.  However, while Executive Order 13045 imposes certain obligations upon federal agencies, including EPA and USACE, it does not confer an authority on EPA to enforce its provisions against other federal agencies.
 

... The USACE has also instituted an additional layer of protection for nearby residents which assumes the extremely unlikely event that a MCE [maximum credible event] has occurred and that the containment system has catastrophically failed such that the air blowers are unable to capture the contamination, resulting in the release of chemical to air outside the structure.  Based on this hypothetical scenario, the USACE calculated a perimeter within which a voluntary shelter-in-place program would be established ... In this unlikely event, the community members with the potentially affected area would be notified through pre-arranged methods and instructed to shelter in place.
Kathyrn A. Hodgkiss
March 28, 2013

Mar 16, 2013

Congresswoman Norton Says Corps May Be Violating Executive Order

The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today released Norton’s letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin in support of a petition urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to temporarily relocate a family in the Spring Valley neighborhood of Northwest D.C. because they have young children, ages one and five, living directly across the street from a property where the Army Corps has demolished a home and is beginning to excavate for potentially hazardous substances.  Excavation is necessary because of a 2011 Army Corps remediation investigation report that indicated that chemical weapons-related debris are likely buried under the house at 4825 Glenbrook Road. 

In her letter, Norton expressed her disappointment in the Army Corps’ rejection of the family’s request, and subsequent appeal, for relocation during the excavation, and in the Army Corps’ explanation that it could not differentiate between very young children and adults living in the affected area.  “For the reasons stated in the petition, I found this conclusion to be uninformed and inconsistent with widely available scientific data,” wrote Norton ... Norton also wrote that the Army Corps may be in violation of an executive order that requires all federal agencies to “make it a high priority to identify and assess environmental health risks and safety risks that may disproportionately affect children.”

Mar 6, 2013

University Waiting to Tell Campus About Shelter-In-Place Protocols

While the Army Corps of Engineers has already informed residents on Glenbrook Road of emergency shelter procedures, AU will not brief the community on an emergency plan until April, according to Assistant Vice President for Communication and Media Camille Lepre.  Starting in May, the Corps expects to find more debris from the former WWI-era munitions site at 4825 Glenbrook Road.  The Corps will enclose the area and use an air monitoring system ... Army Corps of Engineers spokesperson Andrea Takash said the Corps has briefed AU’s administration on the public protection plan, but when to communicate the plan to the AU community is the University’s decision ...

Public address speakers and strobe lights will be used to alert the community in the event of an emergency during high-probability work, according to the Corps.  Sirens and speaker systems will also be placed at the Watkins and Kreeger buildings, Takash said.  A map indicating the residences within the “shelter-in-place” zone during “high-probability” work includes Watkins and AU President Neil Kerwin’s home.  Shelter-in-place procedures instruct residents to take cover wherever they are in the case of an emergency at the site ... The Army Corps has conducted other “low-probability” investigations in recent years at the AU Experiment Station (AUES) site that have revealed debris and munitions.  During an operation next to the Public Safety building in 2010, Army Corps workers unearthed a 75 mm artillery piece buried under the building’s lower entrance
Leigh Giangreco
March 6, 2013 (pg. 6)

Mar 1, 2013

Pentagon Worried about Setting Precedent if It Okays Relocation

Christine Dieterich said she contacted the Corps, and was assured that soil testing on her property had come back negative, that the cleanup was slowly coming to an end, and that there was no risk to her family.  "Famous last words," she said, in a phone interview last week ... "They reassessed," she said, "and eventually determined to demolish the house.  We told the Corps, 'Fine, clean up the property, we would like to relocate,'" she continued.  That was in early 2012, and she said the initial response was "quite positive," with Corps aides looking at houses for the family.  "Then hardliners at the Corps took over," she said, and after three rounds of appeals, the relocation request was rejected last week.  "These people take forever for everything, and they never admit a mistake." 
    
The family is not banking on a positive response from the Environmental Protection Agency.  "We're now considering legal options," [Dieterich said] ... "If they do something for Christine's kids, it's a slippery slope for them," [Attorney Buzz] Bailey said.  "The Pentagon won't do the right thing because they're concerned about precedent."
Elizabeth Wiener

February 27, 2013 (pg. 1)

The best attempt at providing answers came from a 2004 survey of a 345-house epicenter of Spring Valley by Charles Bermpohl, a staff writer for the Northwest Current, a weekly paper that covers Spring Valley.  Bermpohl found 160 cases of chronic, often life-threatening and rare diseases.  Bermpohl's research found an alarming number of diseases, but experts have criticized the findings as anecdotal and unscientific ... Camille Saum had grown up on Sedgwick Street and lived there from 1947 to 1964 ... "Three-quarters of the homes in our part of the neighborhood had serious illnesses," says Beth Junium, Saum's sister ... Junium counts the houses with cancer -- "bad cancers, they all died" -- and stops at seven.  "I had an enormous growth on my thyroid," she says. 
   
... Camille Saum was eventually diagnosed with lupus and renal stenosis, a rare kidney disease that constricts the blood vessels.  "I was examined by a doctor for NIH who told me my conditions could have been caused by arsenic poisoning," she said.

Feb 24, 2013

Army's Refusal to Relocate Family of Four Shocks Congresswoman

DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton's letter ... expresses “shock” that the Corps would excavate a home site within yards of the home where Rogerio Zandamela and Christine Dieterich are raising their children, ages 1 and 5.  The Corps expects to unearth toxic chemicals in glassware and munitions contaminated with toxic agents such as mustard gas that were used in World War I, when the American University campus was an experiment station for poisonous chemical weapons.  Harold G. “Buzz” Bailey, an attorney who represents the family, last week petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to relocate them under the Superfund Act ... The full story of the Spring Valley chemical-weapons testing and the plight of the Dieterich family is the subject of a feature in the March issue of Washingtonian.
Harry Jaffe
Washingtonian
February 21, 2013


Since 2000, the Army Corps has removed over 500 munitions, 400 pounds of laboratory glassware and over 100 tons of soil contaminated with arsenic and other hazardous substances from 4825 Glenbrook Road and the immediate area.  Despite this and the very real possibility that hazardous substances remain, the Army Corps decided to reject the family’s request for relocation during the remainder of the Army Corps’ work at 4825 Glenbrook Road ...
   
We also know that the Army Corps’ relationship with the Spring Valley community is fragile, that the cost of relocating this family is small compared to the overall cost of this years-long project, and Army Corps risks serious negative publicity by denying this request.  Given these facts, I find it unreasonable that the Army Corps would opt to deny the relocation request.  In light of the scientific evidence available to the Army Corps and to the general public, I believe that the only prudent decision is to relocate the family.
   
 
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