Daily News Archive
From August 10, 2001

Norton and Morella Advocate Chemical Search

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Rep. Constance A. Morella (R-MD) requested that the General Accounting Office search Spring Valley for buried chemical munitions. The congresswomen are concerned with chemical contamination because of hazardous substances that were used in the Spring Valley Area during WWI. Morella told the Washington Post that she wants the GAO to conduct, "the complete and thorough investigation that Spring Valley has always needed and deserved, but never received." Click here to read article at WashingtonPost.com.

Spring Valley is a major concern to these members of congress, as are other sites in the District of Columbia. Norton and Morella believe that, because the Army and other federal agencies have not done enough in dealing with the Spring Valley contamination, other sites must be surveyed as a preventive measure. Other sites being investigated are the Washington Navy Yard, Catholic University, the University of the District of Columbia, and Camp Simms.

The Washington Navy yard was home to an industrial site where ships were maintained and guns were constructed. The EPA ordered a federal cleanup of the Washington Navy Yard, removing cancer-causing PCBs, lead and dioxins. Although there has been a cleanup, employees are still concerned about the site's potential health hazards. 4,000 employees will be moved from Crystal City to the Navy Yard this year. The other locations being investigated were used for various duties during WWI.

The Army's chemical weapons were tested in Catholic University's satellite lab during WWI. The Washington Post reported that Lewisite and ricin, two toxic chemical warfare agents, were developed there. The National Bureau of Standards and the Department of Defense housed a fuse laboratory through 1973 on the site of the University of the District of Columbia campus. Camp Simms was used as a small-arms target range by the military and law enforcement agencies until 1959.