You are here: American University US Army Corps of Engineers Project

As a result of U.S. Army operations in Northwest Washington during World War I and the discovery of materials left over from their research and testing, the American University campus has been one of many sites targeted for environmental testing by the Army Corps of Engineers. With assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency and the D.C. Department of Health, the Army Corps has been sampling and testing soil throughout the Spring Valley area.

The University's primary concern throughout this process has been the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and other members of the AU community. We are providing this web site as a reliable, up-to-date source for information about the Army Corps of Engineers Project as it affects AU. This web page is designed to answer questions, give useful information about the Army Corps Project, and post memos routinely sent to the campus community.

During the sampling and testing of the soil on campus, a few areas were found to contain higher-than-normal levels of arsenic. Campus activities in those areas were re-located until the Army Corps removed and replaced the affected soil. Given the sampling results from the Army Corps, tests on persons routinely frequenting the areas, and an assessment provided by our environmental health consultant, Dr. Paul Chrostowski, show there are no signs that anyone on campus has been or would be affected by exposure to arsenic in the soil.

Some have asked whether the Army Corps' project has affected the water supply. AU uses municipal water, as does the surrounding community. According to DC officials, the municipal water meets EPA's drinking water standards. The Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) publishes an annual drinking water quality report, as required by EPA. You may access the report at

To ensure that students and staff are fully and regularly informed about the Army Corps Project on campus, AU President Sylvia M. Burwell has assigned senior members of the University staff to monitor the Army Corps activity and communicate findings and progress to the AU community.