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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