The Army Corps of Engineers will no longer attempt to use an airframe tent to cover its Lot 18 workspace after continued problems with the tent’s deflation. Work on the site will continue under the current metal frame tent.
The Corps has worked to remove debris from the area behind campus, designated as Lot 18, since June 2004 when a sealed container of lewisite, a chemical warfare agent, was found there. The Corps developed World War I weapons on the site, which is located on the south side of campus near the Public Safety and Financial Aid buildings. While the Corps works to remove items from the area, a blue 60-by-100-foot tent is covering the project to prevent potential air contamination if a dangerous substance were unearthed.
“The air-inflatable tent would have been lighter in weight and more maneuverable,” said Craig Georg, project manager. “Using such a tent would have been an innovative solution to some of the challenges of Lot 18. ... But worker safety and the tent’s ability to protect the public in the event of an accident is our primary concern.”
The Corps, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the D.C. Department of Health, recently finished the first round of groundwater sampling to determine if the weapon testing has affected the water supply for the surrounding area. Results of those tests are due in September.
Corps officials projected the work to be complete January 2006 but are now reevaluating that date.