Aug 10, 2016

Hengst: "What about burial pits under the AU President's house?"

I strongly disagree with the Corps’ conclusion that no further investigation is necessary under the house at 4835 Glenbrook Road NW [Site-Wide Proposed Plan] ... In addition to lingering explosive hazards ... [the] area [is] up-gradient of the entire Spring Valley community, thus contaminating the groundwater from the ridge at the formerly used defense site’s boundary along Nebraska Avenue NW all the way down to Sibley Memorial Hospital ... At a September 2011 community meeting with Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3D, project manager Brenda Barber was asked by then-commissioner Kent Slowinski whether the Corps had talked to the workers at 4825 and 4835 Glenbrook who — in several videotaped interviews — identified precisely where munitions and chemical-filled bottles were buried during construction of those buildings.  At that time, Barber replied: “Our legal counsel is actively engaged in trying to find out the names of those employees so that we can do additional interviews with them.”
For the next five years, the Army Corps evidently tried in vain to find these witnesses to the burials, yet three of those missing workers unexpectedly showed up at the May 2016 Restoration Advisory Board meeting to publicly repeat their claims. In an interview after the meeting, one of them reported that the “worst” contamination was still under the house at 4835, claiming: “There’s all kinds of stuff under it, stuff that could explode under you”  [“Workers recount Glenbrook Road hazards,” May 18].  Whether or not the Corps believes these reports are credible, it’s indisputable that the plan was drafted and circulated to the cleanup partners for review well before May.
If the Army Corps had been searching for those workers since 2011, now that they’ve actually been located, isn’t it obligated to at least consider these eyewitness reports somewhere in its plan?  Does anyone care that project manager Dan Noble admitted on numerous occasions that the only intrusive investigation ever conducted beneath the footprint of 4835 Glenbrook was a solitary borehole in the center of the basement?  Since the Army has launched a “potentially responsible party” investigation to identify the developers of 4835 Glenbrook ... (in order to recoup added cleanup costs), isn’t it the Corps’ fiduciary responsibility to determine what the price tag will be by actually remediating [this] site as soon as possible?
Allen Hengst
Northwest Current
August 10, 2016 (pg. 7)

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