November 29, 2000
|FROM:||Jorge Abud, Assistant Vice President Facilities and Administrative Services
|SUBJECT:||Army Corps of Engineers Project
We would like to update the community on the work of the Army Corps of Engineers in relation to the AU campus and surrounding areas. You may recall from previous communications that the Army Corps has undertaken several projects to remove World War I chemicals, munitions, and artifacts from properties adjacent to the university - in 1986, again in 1993, and most recently in February 1999.
So far, the impact of these projects on the university has been marginal, with only occasional inconveniences. However, recent testing and explorations by the Corps have led to an expansion of the project beyond the February 1999 projections.
The Corps believes the project is entering its final phase, and will involve the activities listed below.
a. Soil tests will be made on the south side of campus for traces of higher than normal arsenic levels (which are byproducts of degrading chemicals). Two weeks ago, the Corps began taking small soil samples with handheld equipment. These tests are unobtrusive and will be completed by November 30. Test results will determine whether any further testing or digging is necessary.
b. Tests will also be made on properties adjacent to the campus on Glenbrook Road and, if tests indicate arsenic levels above certain established thresholds, soil will be removed. These properties will be accessed from the campus near the Kreeger building; soil-removal trucks will enter and exit through the Fletcher gate. We will do everything we can to minimize the inconvenience of this traffic.
c. Tests have shown that there may have been a World War I munitions and/or chemical burial site on university property near the Hamilton and Kreeger buildings (behind several residences on Rockwood Parkway). We are working with representatives of building inhabitants to arrange for temporary relocation while the Corps investigates and, if necessary, removes items from the site. Site preparation began last week and will involve tree removal and the installation of a temporary gravel road behind Kreeger. Site excavation is scheduled for January 8 - 11. When the work is completed, the site will be fully restored, probably over a period of several months.
The safety of people living and working near the site is our paramount concern. Both the Corps and the university have engaged in comprehensive planning for these activities, and extensive safety measures will be implemented throughout.
If you are interested in learning more about the project, the Army Corps has established an information line (1-800-434-0988) and a Website.