The work of the Army Corps on our campus is entering its final phase. The removal and replacement of soil on the intramural fields and around the Child Development Center are now scheduled to be completed by the end of the fall semester.
The last stage of the clean-up process is the excavation of items detected in the geophysical survey. The survey showed several items beneath the surface, but the detection equipment cannot determine the nature of the items or whether they are related to World War I operations on our campus.
Based on soil sampling, historical data, and past investigations, the Corps has determined that most of the items are not likely to contain hazardous chemicals or weapons material. Excavation of these “low probability anomalies” began on November 4 on the intramural fields, in areas adjacent to the Kreeger, Watkins, Hamilton, Financial Aid, and Public Safety buildings. The Corps is following all necessary safety precautions for this operation.
In addition to old pipes and construction materials, only one item related to World War I activity has been found. This was an unfused, unfilled 75mm. shell found four feet beneath the surface. The Army Corps removed it from the campus. If any suspicious items are discovered during the investigation, the excavation is halted and more stringent safety controls are implemented.
As we get close to the end of the semester and to the end of the Army Corps project on our campus, I will provide another update for the AU community.
As always, the University’s first priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and other members of the AU community. The information line (202-885-2020) is available should you have questions. This memo and all others regarding the Corps’ activities on campus are posted on the AU website dedicated to this project, www.american.edu/usace. I encourage all members of the community to read past memos on the project to be fully informed. For information about the Corps’ information line and document repositories, visit their website at www.nab.usace.army.mil/projects/WashingtonDC/springvalley.htm.