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Report on state of AU munitions cleanup released

US Army Corp of Engineers says Public Safety Building only AU site with potential munition items

A report released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on March 10 has determined that there may be residual WWI munitions below the Public Safety Building.

The report outlined updated plans for cleanup of the munitions in the Spring Valley area and on AU's campus.

Paul Chrostowski, an environmental consultant who has been working with AU and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the cleanup efforts since 2000, said there were no immediate danger concerns. He did say, however, that there are questions about long- term remedial work.

“We did have some questions and concerns about the report and issues that impact the South portion of the campus. There are some technical questions about the adequacy of the sampling that was done there and the amount of cleanup that is proposed. We have sent those questions to the Army Corps,” Chrostowski said. “This is not an urgent issue, it is a long-term issue.”

Property owners in the Spring Valley area were given advanced notice prior to the release of the report if the Army Corps determined that they may be affected by potential remaining munitions. The notice contained a timeline of future clean-up events and explanations about what the remedial investigation means.

“Homeowners who received notification called or came to the Advisory Board meeting and asked a lot of questions some about property and real estate value,” Andrea Takash, a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers overseeing the cleanup efforts, said. “We are continuing to work with them to answer questions, and the report is not final yet. We are still working with our partners, with the EPA and the District Department of the Environment to finalize their comments and assessment.”

The U.S. Army Corps will release the finalized remedial investigation after assessment from the EPA and the District Department of the Environment in late May. Following the finalized the remedial investigation report, a feasibility report will be published outlining what options for cleanup are available.

Following the release of the feasibility report, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with feedback from the public and landowner will recommend  a design plan for munition cleanup.

“We offer recommendation about which alternative plan for cleanup is most effective, but then we look to our regulators, our partners, including AU and ask which plan works best for them. Once that is determined, an action plan is outlined. We would not be implementing that plan until the 2017-2020 timeframe,” Takash said.

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