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Spring Valley Formerly Used Defense Sile

Colonel Charles J. Fiala, Jr.

4.) What is your agency doing to reduce the risk at Spring Valley?

The Corps is working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency and the District of Columbia Department of Health to reduce human health risk that may have been caused by the military's past activities at Spring Valley. Where the Corps has identified areas of risk, we have informed the owners/residents of the nature of the risk, and provided them with information about the steps they can take to avoid exposure pathways. At the same time, we have taken the steps necessary to reduce the risk to acceptable levels through removal or other response to the contamination.

At this stage of the investigation, we don't know where all elevated levels of contaminants are, and we won't know where they are until we have completed our sampling. Therefore, the best general approach we can take is to ensure the community is well-informed.

The Corps has been proactive in its efforts to keep the community informed about and involved in our investigation. Our community involvement initiatives have included the following:

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Community meetings (with speakers from the U.S. Agency for Toxic
Substances and Disease Registry, as well as private sector experts, such as Dr.

Stephen Lamm, a well-known toxicologist and expert on arsenic)
• Establishment of a Restoration Advisory Board consisting of 14 community

residents as well as representatives from local businesses, and the federal and

local agencies involved in the investigation
• Monthly community newsletters mailed to every address within the 661 acres

of the Spring Valley site
Letters sent to residents and property owners to inform them of developments
specifically concerning them or their property, and to solicit their input or
obtain permission for additional investigation on their property
Telephone information line (1-800-434-0988), updated regularly and checked
twice a day for messages. The appropriate project person promptly follows up
on messages left on this 1-800 line. This phone number is included in
briefings, letters, newsletters, and other correspondence sent to the
community.
Internet web page. Our Internet web page provides current project
information. The information available includes maps, photos, news releases,
minutes of meetings and community newsletters. As with the information line
number, the web page address is included in all correspondence sent to the
community. The web page address is
(http://www.nab.usace.army.mil/projects/Washington DC/springvalley.htm).
Public document repository. An information repository has been established
at the District of Columbia Palisades Public Library, 49th and V Streets,
N.W., Washington, D.C. Information on past project activities at Spring
Valley, as well as current information on the project, is available at the

Spring Valley Formerly Used Defense Site

Colonel Charles I. Fiala, Jo

Partnering with other government agencies. The Corps has been participating in regular partnering meetings with officials from both EPA Region III and the D.C. Health Department to ensure resolution of all concerns about the site. The most recent partnering meeting was held on July 18, 2001.

Spring Valley Formerly Used Defense Silc

Colonel Charles J. Fiala, Jr.

5.) What kinds of chemical weapons research was conducted by the American University Experimental Station? Have the results of that research been declassified? Did you have access to any top secret or classified records in conducting the archival research reviews?

A wide variety of research was conducted at the American University Experiment Station (AUES) during the First World War. The AUES mission during the war was the investigation, development, testing, and manufacturing of substances, materials, equipment and weapons to determine their suitability for offensive and defensive gas warfare.

During the war, AUES became the centerpiece of the Chemical Warfare Service's Research Division. Research was conducted on both offensive and defensive measures. Typically, defensive testing was conducted on gas masks and protective clothing to protect troops from the effects of enemy gas attacks. Research was also conducted on dugout curtains; these curtains were used to prevent gas from entering the below ground shelters that front line troops typically lived in while on duty in the trenches.

Research was also conducted on offensive measures. Scientists were trying to develop chemical agents that quickly dissipated, but were effective in causing enemy casualties. Tests were conducted on captured German gas masks to determine what agents were effective in penetrating their filter.

A large number of chemical and toxic agents, smoke materials, incendiary materials, and detonator materials were tested at AUES. Typically small amounts of materials were developed in the labs, and if the agent looked promising larger amounts were produced and the scale of the testing was expanded. The majority of the materials that were investigated at AUES were not tested in the fields. The most commonly tested materials in the test ranges were mustard gas and mustard gas derivatives, phosgene, and chloropicrin. Ordnance used in field tests was usually 75 mm shells, trench mortar shells, or Livens projectiles.

W. D. Bancroft's 1919 history of the Chemical Warfare Service contains information on the volume of chemical agents that were produced at AUES during the war. Documentation suggests that agents were produced to support the testing and research at AUES. Large-scale production for war time use took place at commercial industrial plants or at the assembly lines that were constructed at the Edgewood Arsenal in 1917. The scientists at AUES would conduct research on the best methods for largescale production of various agents. Once an effective method of production was developed, large-scale production took place at a different facility.

There were several boxes of classified information in the collection of the Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. These boxes were declassified and the information was reviewed as part of the 1993 research effort. After review of the contents, the material was forwarded to the Fisher Library at Fort

Spring Valley Formerly Used Defense Silc

Colonel Charles J. Fiala, Jr.

classified or top secret documents were encountered during the archival research effort. To the best of our knowledge, all of the records related to the research conducted at AUES during the war have been declassified and reviewed.

Spring Valley Formerly Used Defense Site

Colonel Charles J. Fiala, Jr.

6.) Has the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to remediate every property where munitions or dangerous levels of arsenic are found? What is required to be remediated by law?

a

a

The Corps' current work, called a Remedial Investigation, will determine the location and extent of the arsenic contamination throughout Spring Valley. In those areas where contamination is found, a risk assessment will be conducted to determine whether there is a risk to human health. In those cases where a risk is found to exist, the Corps will evaluate response alternatives, and propose a recommended course of action for comment by regulators and the community. Once a final decision is made regarding the appropriate course of action, the Corps will carry out the response. All of this work is conducted in close coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency, the District of Columbia Department of Health, and the community.

The Corps is committed to taking whatever response actions are called for by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). Neither CERCLA nor the NCP specify cleanup standards for particular contaminants. Rather, they set the guidelines for how to arrive at appropriate cleanup standards. The Corps has followed these guidelines in developing its protocols for how to remediate the arsenic in the soil.

Munitions are not defined under CERCLA as “hazardous substances," but the Corps is responsible for cleaning up munitions left behind by the Department of Defense. Any additional munitions found in the Spring Valley area will be safely removed by the Corps.

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