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Buried in a DC yard: WWI chemicals, weapons

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posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 07:28 AM
This has to be quite disturbing to those folks in the neighborhood. Nothing like a little mustard gas or nerve agent lurking beneath your beautifully manicured front lawn.

I wonder how many other locations in the US have these goodies that have been disposed of in the same manner?

WASHINGTON -- A year ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers thought chances of finding any more chemical weapons in the front yard of a home in the nation's capital were slim. So they removed an airtight protective structure from the World War I munitions cleanup site. Then, they uncovered a small arsenal.

The Corps discovered an open flask containing traces of the chemical agent mustard, another blistering agent called lewisite and munition shells with more digging near a one-time Army chemical warfare station at American University.
More recently, protective structures were rebuilt and digging continued. Workers found a larger jar with mustard, glassware that was smoking and fuming, scrap munitions and a shell containing a tear gas agent.

posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 09:37 AM
Another related article on this topic from the Navy Times:

More WWI-era chemical weapons found in D.C.

WASHINGTON — The 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.

Preliminary tests show the glassware was contaminated with the toxic chemical arsenic trichloride. Officials will review safety procedures before digging continues.

Workers also discovered a jar about three-quarters full of a dark liquid that turned out to be the chemical agent mustard. It was used during World War I as a weapon that caused blisters, breathing problems and vomiting.

posted on Apr, 22 2010 @ 08:39 AM
Follow up piece on the destruction of the chemicals found recently...

The U.S. Army on Friday started eliminating several World War I-era chemical munitions discovered months ago in Washington, D.C., the Washington Post reported (see GSN, April 15).
One shell containing lewisite was destroyed inside the self-contained Explosive Destruction System chamber. The detonation took place on federal land in the residential Spring Valley area. After the munition was broken apart by explosives, chemicals were added to the remains to neutralize the blister agent, said Dan Noble, head of the Army Corps of Engineers project.

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