Jan 29, 2014

Longtime Resident Geza Teleki was Fierce Critic of Corps' Cleanup

We write to honor the life of Geza Teleki.  After a long battle with many health issues, Geza passed away on January 7, 2014, in his home on Szentendre Island, Hungary.  He lived in Spring Valley from 1984 to 2003 at 3819 48th Street.  We remember Geza for his deep concern over the cleanup and wellbeing of Spring Valley.  He fought for a more thorough and transparent investigation into the buried munitions and chemical remains resulting from the World War I chemical weapons development and testing at the American University Experimental Station and neighboring properties.  Geza eloquently spoke of these concerns while serving on the Spring Valley Restoration Advisory Board from its inception until he resigned in 2002.  
Ginny Durrin & Ken Shuster
Northwest Current
January 29, 2014 (pg. 11)

Dr. Virginia Marie Weaver, an occupational health specialist at the Johns Hopkins Medical School, reported in a five-page clinic note last January that her patient,  Geza Teleki, represented a puzzle for any health professional.  Teleki, who in 2003 moved to Maryland after living in his family home on the 3800 block of 48th Street in Spring Valley for more than 30 years, suffers from diabetes, hypothyroidism, advancing kidney disease, colon disease and a heart ailment that may require surgery.  This multi-organ breakdown occurred in a two-year period after more than a decade of robust good health ... 
  Geza P. Teleki testifies at DC City Council hearing
 Weaver wrote that her patient "could have had exposure to volatile chemicals from soil evaporation or water leaking into his basement.  He could have had exposure to particulates and metals through gardening.  The extent of the exposure remains unknown due to the absence of extensive sampling during the time he was in the home."  She further wrote that the nature of the chemicals still in the ground "is unclear since they were experimental -- and the byproducts that could have formed over the 80 years are even more unclear." 
Charles Bermpohl
Northwest Current
November 10, 2004 (pg. B-3)

Nevermore, I realized as I hastened homeward to my own bed ... would I regard chimpanzees as "mere animals."  On that singular eve, which also marked the twilight of my youth, I had seen my species inside the skin of another ... Having spent some years in the company of chimpanzees, both free and confined individuals, I find myself no longer able to cleave to the majority human view of chimpanzees as inferior beings.  
Geza P. Teleki
They Are Us (1993) 

Jan 17, 2014

Live 75mm Shell Shuts Down Glenbrook Road Dig for Two Days

On Monday workmen unearthed another crusty munition from its current excavation of the toxic-waste site on Glenbrook Road, a stone's throw from the American University campus.  The fourth such find pulled from the ground in tony Spring Valley since September, the artifact turned out to be a 75-millimeter shrapnel round buried when the Army abandoned a experimental warfare station after World War I.  The Army Corps of Engineers immediately shut down the Glenbrook Road operation, transported the bomb to a secure site behind Sibley Memorial Hospital, and checked it for explosives.
The fill was determined to be a riot-control agent that was used during World War I," the Corps announced Wednesday, saying that it "poses no danger to the workers or community."  Christine Dietrich, who lives across the street from the dig with her husband and two young children, is not reassured.  "It's absolutely unacceptable," she told Washingtonian.  "I cannot have my children playing in the front yard when they are digging up one bomb after another across the street." 

MK IV adapter/booster
On Jan. 13, crews safely removed two items.  The first item was encountered during the morning effort and was determined to be a Mk IV adapter/booster.  In the World War I era, an adapter and booster casing was designed to convert a 75mm conventional munition into a chemical munition.  The team concluded that the item is MPPEH (material potentially presenting an explosive hazard).  The item will not detonate without a fuze.  It was packaged and transported to the Federal Property.  The project team assessed this finding and based on experience and prior efforts determined that high probability excavations could resume using our existing multiple layers of engineering controls ...

The second item, encountered in the afternoon of Jan. 13, was determined to be a 75mm shrapnel round, unfuzed and unfired. The initial assessment indicates the item has an unknown solid fill. The item was packaged and transported to Federal Property, where it is waiting an additional assessment. Until the second assessment is complete, the site is shutdown.
Spring Valley FUDS

75mm shrapnel round
The Munitions Advisory Review Board reviewed the assessments of the 75mm shrapnel round that was encountered at the Glenbrook Road project Jan. 13.  After looking at X-rays and a chemical analysis, the team determined the item does not contain energetics.  The fill was determined to be a riot control agent that was used during World War I.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has reviewed these results and determined that our existing engineering controls are adequate and no modifications to our procedures are needed at this time.  Based on this determination, we plan to resume high probability operations on Thursday, Jan. 16. 
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