DC’s former military toxic waste site on the market for nearly $1.3 million

An empty lot that once served as a dumping ground for World War I military weapons testing recently went on the market for nearly $1.3 million. The lot is located in the pristine Spring Valley neighborhood of northeast DC, in the backyard of American University.

A real estate agent for the lot, which is also located right next to the residence of the president of the American university, called it “probably the cleanest lot in the city right now” in a Washingtonian interview.

This is because it took approximately two decades for the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to properly clean the site of its chemical warfare toxins.

“Some of the materials we were handling were very dangerous and that was very serious and we had a lot of safety procedures and protocols in place to make sure everything was safe while we were retrieving those materials,” Dan said. Noble, USACE project manager for the former Spring Valley defense site.

Noble helped lead the massive cleanup effort.

He explained that during World War I, American University set up an American University Experiment Station where scientists and soldiers developed weapons for chemical warfare. At the end of the war, these objects were thrown away and buried in the surrounding area.

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An earlier report by FOX 5 said the finds included an uncapped glass bottle with remnants of mustard gas inside. FOX 5’s Melanie Alnwick won an Emmy for her coverage of the toxic site cleanup and the impact it had on several northeast DC residents in the early 2000s.

His reports showed that the military responsible for toxic waste disposal called the area “Death Valley” and called a certain pit near what is now Glenbrook Road, “Hades”.

Where Glenbrook Road. cleanup of the property was complete, USACOE said it recovered or repaired:

  • 556 ammunition (including 23 filled with chemical agents)
  • 2,139 pounds of lab debris
  • 53 intact and sealed glass containers of chemical agent
  • 7,500 tonnes of contaminated soil, all near occupied private property, a major university campus and public roads

The property company involved wouldn’t say how many offers it received on the lot, but the lot appears as “Contingent” online, meaning it received at least one solid offer. A neighbor welcomed the news.

“It was a terrible seven years for us because we had little kids, and the idea of ​​having my kids playing in the front yard while they scavenge chemical warfare wasn’t exactly my idea of ​​keeping the kids in safety,” said Christine Dietrich. Dietrich told FOX 5 that she would gladly take another year off. house building vs more site excavation.

FOX 5 asked Noble if he would live on the property now.

“Yes, of course,” he said, “If I lived in the DC area, it’s a beautiful area. But yes, my involvement is professional. I’m not looking to move to the district.”

He also told FOX 5 that USACOE had been awarded for their work on Glenbrook Rd. a lot last year. The cleanup project ended in November 2021.

“I fully stand by what our closure report says that we have met our corrective action objectives and in doing so, yes this property has unrestricted future use,” Noble said. “And if that use is to put up a residence there and someone moves in. I mean, that’s what unrestricted use means.”

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Patrick M. Regan represented a family that lived inside the house that once stood on Glenbrook Road. ground. The house was demolished to begin completely clearing the land.

Regan told FOX 5 the family became very ill while living inside the house and filed a lawsuit.

“There is no way they could have removed all the ammunition from the whole area. The house next door, immediately to the left, was not demolished. There was ammunition all over the street and it is so shocking,” Regan said. mentioned.

He is furious that someone can buy the land to build another house. Regan thinks it should stay a park.

Regan also told FOX 5 that they eventually settled their lawsuit.

The Army Corps of Engineers told FOX 5 that if there was a concern, the owner should have received a call from them by now. The original site USACE was investigating was 650 acres.

Noble said the Glenbrook area had the highest concentration of toxic materials left behind by First World War soldiers.

For more information on toxic waste disposal efforts, visit the websites below:


https://www.denix.osd.mil/awards/2022secdef/environmental-restoration-individual-team/glenbrook-road-remedial-action-team-us-army-corps-of-engineers-north-atlantic-division- maryland/2%20Nomination%20Narrative%20Army%20ER-IT%20SV%20Glenbrook%20Road%20RA_508C.pdf

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