Apr 19, 2016

6-Year ATSDR 'Health Evaluation' Released for Public Comment

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released their "Health Consultation Report - An Exposure and Health Effects Evaluation of Former Workers and Residents to Chemical Contamination at 4825 Glenbrook Road, Washington, D.C." today.  In 2010, the Corps of Engineers asked ATSDR ... to develop the report, which evaluated past exposure scenarios at the 4825 Glenbrook Road property, specifically for two groups: construction and other workers who developed the property (1992-1993), and the family who lived at the residence from 1993 until 1999.  ATSDR is holding a public comment period to gather feedback from the public regarding their evaluation, starting today and closing on June 20, 2016.  Experts from ATSDR are currently scheduled to attend the regularly scheduled Spring Valley Restoration Advisory Board meeting, on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 7 PM, to discuss the report and receive feedback from the public.
Spring Valley FUDS
Community Outreach Team
April 19, 2016

Conclusion 1: Some construction workers likely experienced harmful short-term (or acute) health effects while working at the property because of exposure to arsenic, CWAs (such as lewisite and sulfur mustard), and other chemicals. Workers, especially those who worked on the property for a year or more, may have an increased cancer risk ... Workers who had intensive soil contact and repeated exposures are more likely to have experienced harmful health effects ... In May 1992, several construction workers were reportedly overcome during soil excavation activities at 4825 Glenbrook Road and required emergency care for respiratory problems. Transcripts of interviews with workers indicate exposure to chemicals during home construction in 1992 and 1993. Based on a medical officer evaluation of these transcripts, exposure to arsenic, arsenicals, irritants, and possibly sulfur mustard was likely ... However, this cancer risk estimate is based on soil arsenic levels remaining on the property after it was developed and is the minimum increased cancer risk.

Conclusion 2: Except for arsenic in soil, insufficient past exposure information is available to determine if former residents of 4825 Glenbrook Road had (or have) harmful health effects related to exposures ... Without data for all possible past exposures, particularly indoor air and dust ... ATSDR is unable to speculate on any possible causal relationship between the former residents’ reported health conditions and their potential exposures while residing at 4825 Glenbrook Road ... ATSDR will attempt to notify former workers and residents about their potential for past exposure to chemicals at this site and share this health consultation with them. If former workers or former residents have experienced symptoms they feel are related to past potential environmental exposures at this property, their healthcare providers can contact ATSDR for further assistance.

Apr 10, 2016

Long Postponed Investigation of POI 2 Comes Up Empty-Handed

In January1993, the first discovery of munitions in Spring Valley was made on 52 Court, NW, when a backhoe operator excavated part of the disposal pit, exposing munitions items.  At that location, there were circular trenches that were used for munitions testing during the World War I era ... When USACE began investigating and reestablishing the history of the American University Experiment Station (AUES), USACE noticed a very similar set of trenches existing on Sedgwick. The Sedgwick Trenches became "Point of Interest" (POI) 1 in the site conceptual model of what needed to be further investigated in Spring Valley. POI 2, 3, and 4 were areas immediately adjacent to Sedgwick Trench, where aerial photography suggested the existence of disposal features. During the remedial investigation, USACE was able to investigate POI 3 and 4, but not POI 2. After 2012, USACE reestablished communication with the property owner at 3700 Block of Fordham Road, where property POI 2 is located. USACE was able to gain access to the property to intrusively investigate POI 2 within the last few weeks. 
In 2003, two geophysical surveys were conducted at this property; an Electromagnetic (EM) survey and a Magnetic (MAG) survey. The EM survey showed two clusters of single point anomalies in the front yard. A "possible pit" feature was seen on the MAG survey, but not on the EM survey. Although there may be some error in the aerial photograph from 1918, the location of the "possible pit" feature shown in the MAG survey very closely matches the location of a "possible pit" ground scar on the 1918 map, causing this area to be of more interest to the Army Corps ... The MAG survey can be more sensitive, and can scan deeper into the ground. Anomalies do not show up on an EM survey if they are buried very deep. So there might be a disposal pit full of World War I bombs made out of metal, which could be an explanation as to why the anomalies show up in the MAG Survey but not in the EM survey ..

USACE went back to the property in March. The large anomaly was intrusively investigated in two locations ... Once these holes were excavated to four feet, the geophysical instruments were inserted into the holes. The instruments did not detect a signal at the bottom of either hole. When the instruments were brought up the side of the hole near the surface, the signal returned. The conclusion is that something about the soil structure in this area causes a magnetic signature. The signal happens near surface, in the first foot or two. However, there were no more magnetic signals at the bottom of the holes. USACE [now] believes that this large anomalous area, which was designated as POI 2, is due to what is referred to as “hot soil” or “hot rocks,” not buried metal.

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