May 21, 2014

3 Spring Valley Areas Will Undergo New Health Risk Assessment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to find numerous potentially harmful chemicals in the soil of American University’s campus near Kreeger and Watkins halls, officials reported last week.  Speaking at the May 13 meeting of the Restoration Advisory Board, Army officials identified the chemicals as antimony, cobalt and a group of three polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.  The contamination on the campus and in nearby Spring Valley homes stems from the Army’s chemical munitions testing carried out at American during World War I.  The Army Corps has spent $240 million cleaning up the area over the last 21 years ... In the residential areas of Spring Valley, the level of cobalt in the soil around the corner of Tilden Street and Fordham Road is high enough to raise concern.  Until recently the cobalt readings would not have been an issue, but the Environmental Protection Agency has lowered the toxicity threshold for the chemical based on recent research ...
The Army has also been continuing to test the groundwater in Spring Valley and on the American University campus ... [Project Manager] Dan Noble told board members that eventually the Army would probably try to clean up any dangerous groundwater ... Added Steve Hirsh of the EPA: “If you were drinking it, it would have to be fixed right away, but you’re not” ...  Hirsh said the Army has tried unsuccessfully over the years to find a heavy concentration of perchlorate that could be affecting the groundwater.
Northwest Current

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