Army Corps of Engineers, Project Update | Archive

             

CPF Scientific Research and Consulting 

SUMMARY TO AMERICAN UNIVERSITY
From Dr. Paul Chrostowski, Ph.D., QEP
CPF Associates, Inc.

The Army Corps of Engineers took 32 soil samples from the areas surrounding the CDC. The sampling results were validated using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines. The validation process revealed a few issues with some of the samples, which resulted in some sampling results being rejected. However, the remaining sampling data was sufficiently reliable to determine the presence and extent of the compounds in the soil.

I compared the sampling results with health-based criteria established by EPA or other government agencies to evaluate the potential health risks of the compounds. The data confirmed the need for soil excavation, which is underway at the CDC. My analysis concluded the following:


  • Target Compound Volatile Organic Compounds (TCVOCs) did not exceed levels considered safe for public health.
  • Tentatively Identified Volatile Organic Compounds (TIVOCs) did not exceed levels considered safe for public health. However, I recommend that further analysis of the excavated soil be conducted for total petroleum hydrocarbons because some compounds in this category were designated as “unknown” compounds.
  • Metals and other chemical elements were found at levels within the range of naturally occurring background levels, with the exception of arsenic. These compounds did not exceed levels considered safe for public health other than arsenic. The arsenic affected soil is being excavated and replaced with clean fill.
  • Tentatively Identified Semi-volatile Organic Compounds (TISVOCs) did not exceed levels considered safe for public health. However, I recommend that the excavated soil be further testedbecause some TISVOCs are hydrocarbons associated with petroleum muchlike some of the TIVOCs.
  • Agent Degradation Products did not exceed levels considered safe for public health.
  • Anions did not exceed levels considered safe for public health.
  • Other compounds, including trinitrotoluene (TNT), ammonia, and cyanide did not exceed levels considered safe for public health.
  • Possible combinations of chemical components did not exceed levels considered safe for public health, or were too unstable to actually exist in the environment.
  • Target Compound Semi-volatile Organic Compounds (TCSVOCs) did not exceed levels considered safe for public health except for those considered to be PAHs. PAHs were found at elevated levels. These compounds are likely a result of incineration, firing of munitions, or burning buildings, the type of activities that took place while the Army was using American University during WWI. EPA has designated some PAHs as probable or possible carcinogens based on experiments with laboratory animals. Several of the PAHs exceeded EPA’s health-based criteria. PAHs are considered to be very common in our environment due to emissions from cars and other activities that involve combustion. Soil at the CDC with elevated levels of PAHs will be excavated and replaced with clean fill.


In summary, I believe that the sampling results show that no further medical testing or medical monitoring is necessary. The sampling results, coupled with the arsenic testing of CDC children and staff, rugby players, and grounds and maintenance workers, are encouraging. As you may remember, no one tested for arsenic had elevated levels of the compound in his or her system.

My detailed analysis of the sampling results will be posted soon on the AU website at www.american.edu/usace. If you have any questions after reviewing this report, please call the AU information line at (202) 885-2020.