WWI Era Chemical Weapons in Your Back Yard. MMmmm…Mustard
So apparently during WWI the US Army used American University in Washington DC to test chemical weapons. For some reason instead of disposing of the weapons after tests (and the war) had been completed they were buried behind the school, which during that time, was rural farm land.
As homes were built on the land in 1993 many of the buried munitions were discovered and disposed of, but I guess they didn’t get them all.
From the Associated Press:
“A site in the Spring Valley neighborhood adjacent to American University is the focus of cleanup efforts to dispose of buried chemical weapons from testing dating back to World War I in Washington in this Thursday, Nov. 1, 2007. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has uncovered what could be a fourth major disposal area for World War I-era munitions and chemical weapons in the nation’s capital. Digging was suspended April 8 as a precaution at the site in the pricey Spring Valley neighborhood near American University after workers pulled smoking glassware from the pit, project manager Dan Noble said Thursday April 15, 2010. This is the first discovery of the smoking chemical arsenic trichloride in the cleanup project. It can be used to develop the blistering agent lewisite, Noble said.”