Jan 21, 2015

Additional Spring Valley 'Areas of Interest' May Need Army Cleanup

More than two decades after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began cleaning up World War I-era contamination from Spring Valley and American University, the Army has said its work in the neighborhood is mostly complete.  But last week, officials reported that some century-old munitions might remain in the area, and that some residents may be living in properties where there is an “unacceptable risk” from hazardous chemical contamination in the soil ...  During World War I, American University hosted the U.S. Army’s main chemical warfare testing station.  Munitions tests, and the postwar burial of various hazardous materials, contaminated areas of the campus and the surrounding woods, which subsequently became the Spring Valley community ...
About four dozen properties are in an “area of interest” that includes Fordham Road roughly between Sedgwick and Quebec streets ... The Army will also look into a smaller area on the south side of Woodway Lane adjacent to the American University campus, and an adjacent area in the southwest corner of the campus around Kreeger and Watkins halls.  Meanwhile, a 120-acre area elsewhere in the neighborhood, comprising roughly a hundred properties, might still have buried munitions that haven’t yet been recovered ... 
“I suspect there could be some people who will be very upset,” Dan Noble, who is in charge of the Army’s cleanup efforts, said at the meeting, noting that it might take several years to remediate a contaminated property ...  Among the chemicals that could be found at a dangerous level in the soil are arsenic, mustard, lewisite, cobalt, certain heavy metals, antimony and a group of three polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
Northwest Current
January 21, 2015
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