For a number of years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been conducting environmental investigations and cleanup activities on and around the AU campus. These activities are the result of the U.S. Army's presence in Spring Valley during the World War I era. The Army has completed most of their work on the AU campus, with the remaining work focused mainly on the area known as Lot 18, in the area behind Kreeger, Hamilton, Financial Aid, Public Safety, and the Rockwood buildings. Work on other aspects of the Lot 18 cleanup will continue for several more weeks.
As new data are collected during these investigations, the Army Corps revises and adjusts its work plans to incorporate new findings. Indeed, the Corps recently notified its Spring Valley partners (the Environmental Protection Agency and D.C. Department of the Environment) and American University that geophysical surveys of the areas near the Financial Aid, Public Safety and Rockwood buildings indicate the possibility of additional burial areas containing World War I-related debris, which will require investigation and possible excavation.
The Spring Valley partners do not believe the newly identified debris field poses any immediate risk to the community or students, faculty and staff of American University. The new area is contiguous to the Lot 18 area, which has been the focus of Army Corps activities for the past several years. Like much of the work performed as part of the Lot 18 operation, the Army Corps indicated that this new area will be conducted as "a low probability" investigation. The "low probability" method is used when there is only a small chance of finding war materiel. The Army Corps will develop a work plan and budget to address the scope and cost of work in this area. Once the work plan is developed for this new area, the University and the regulatory agencies will review and comment on the Corps proposal.
The university is committed to helping the Army Corps finish their work on the AU campus and throughout Spring Valley safely and efficiently. Our top priority is the health and safety of the entire campus community. The university closely monitors the Corps' progress, and our independent expert, Dr. Paul Chrostowski, will continue to review the Corps' work and make appropriate recommendations. The Army Corps also receives environmental health and safety input from EPA and the D.C. Department of the Environment. As a result, we are confident that the health and well-being of the campus community is being protected.
Please visit www.american.edu/usace for previous updates provided to the campus community if you have specific questions about the Corps' project at AU.