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

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