2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: cpeo <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 29 Apr 2002 17:27:35 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Arsenic Inquiry Expands to Md., N.Va.]
Arsenic Inquiry Expands to Md., N.Va. 

By Steve Vogel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 27, 2002; Page A01 

The search for arsenic contamination left by World War I munitions and 
chemical testing has spread beyond the District's Spring Valley 
neighborhood and into the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia, where 
documents show further weapons tests occurred.

Officials stress that none of the current investigations was begun 
because of reports of health problems and that no evidence of 
contamination has been found.

But federal inspectors, stung by criticism that they mishandled the 
Spring Valley investigation after being confronted as early as 1986 with 
evidence of buried munitions, are moving more quickly to deal with 
possible threats elsewhere.

Through yellowed documents and dusty recollections, the Army Corps of 
Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have identified 
sites throughout the region linked to a chemical weapons testing station 
the Army operated at American University during World War I. They 
continue searching for others using aerial photographs and out-of-date 

This week, the Army notified a school, church and country club, all in 
Bethesda, that their soil should be tested for possible contamination, 
because documents indicate limited experimentation in 1918 with a toxic 
but nonlethal chemical. The EPA has pressed for the investigation as a 
precaution to make sure that young children at the Harbor School are not 
playing in arsenic-contaminated soil, officials said. 

"In terms of public risk, I don't want to say it's very low, but it's 
not nearly the level of concern we have at Spring Valley," said Jack 
Butler, who oversees the Army Corps of Engineers' environmental cleanup 
operations in Maryland.

This story can be viewed in its entirety at:

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