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Posted at 6:25 PM ET, 04/16/2010

Army destroys Spring Valley munitions

By Washington Post editors

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday began destruction of the first of a series of chemical and nonchemical munitions unearthed in recent months at the Spring Valley World War I chemical weapons site in Northwest Washington.

A 75-millimeter round containing the blistering agent, Lewisite, was placed inside a special Explosive Destruction System, located on federal property behind Sibley Hospital. Inside, explosives break open the shell and chemicals are pumped in to neutralize the toxic agent, said Dan Noble, the Spring Valley project manager. The process can take several hours.

The corps plans to destroy four more chemical munitions -- one containing mustard agent, three containing arsine -- in the coming days. Twenty more rounds that probably contain water are also slated for destruction, Noble said. Meanwhile, two containers of the toxic chemical arsenic trichloride that were unearthed in the area March 29 will be shipped from the discovery site, where they are packaged, to an Army lab at the Edgewood Arsenal on Monday, he said. The Army has been searching for, and removing, buried munitions at the former chemical weapons research station in Spring Valley since the 1990s.

-- Michael Ruane

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By Washington Post editors  | April 16, 2010; 6:25 PM ET
Tags:  Chemical warfare, Dan Noble, Spring Valley, United States, United States Army, United States Army Corps of Engineers, World War I  
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Comments

Curious, isn't it, that Corps can ship some dangerous material to Edgewood (my guess, by helo), but that it won't ship material being destroyed next to a hospital in NW Washington, DC. Why don't Norton, Secy Gates and others do something about this horrendous risk? The Corps's skill and trustworthiness are not above reproach, as history shows.

Posted by: axolotl | April 17, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Spring Valley is full of poisons and dangerous buried weapons.....who would want to live there much less expose children to such dangers....the entire place was a dump for the military....the drinking water reservoir is contaminated too.

Posted by: SofaKingCool2009 | April 18, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

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