This is another in the series of regular updates I have provided on the activities of the Army Corps on our campus. People new to our campus this year may not know that for the past few years the Corps has been conducting environmental investigation and cleanup activities on our campus and elsewhere in Spring Valley related to the Army’s World War I testing of munitions and warfare agents.
The Corps began the final phase of work on our campus this summer. They are excavating “Lot 18,” which is behind the Hamilton, Kreeger, Rockwood, Public Safety, and Financial Aid buildings. In coordination with the D.C. Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Corps is exploring this area to identify and remove any World War I material. This excavation is the last such activity planned for our campus.
As always, our top priority is the health and safety of the entire campus community. The university closely monitors the work of the Corps, and AU’s independent environmental safety expert, Dr. Paul Chrostowski, reviews Corps activities and makes appropriate recommendations. The Corps is taking proper safety precautions as required by EPA, D.C. Health, and AU.
To date, the Corps has removed materials that are consistent with Lot 18’s former use as a disposal pit. These include glassware fragments, ceramic containers, scrap ordnance and other metal, construction debris, and soil and lab ware such as stoppers, empty test tubes and bottles. All materials are collected and analyzed under procedures jointly approved by the Corps, EPA, and the D.C. Department of Health.
Lot 18 activities were temporarily suspended on August 16 while the Corps awaits additional federal funding to enable them to complete the job. The Corps is working to overcome their funding constraints and resume the Lot 18 project as soon as possible, but work is not expected to resume until mid-October. The entire Lot 18 operation is expected to last 12 to 18 months.
I will continue to update the campus community as the Army Corps work progresses. For previous updates provided to the campus community, please visit http://www.american.edu/usace or call 202-885-2020 if you have specific questions about the Army Corps project.