Spring Valley chemical weapons excavation work steps up

Workers have been testing and cleaning the Spring Valley neighborhood since the 1990s. Photo: ABC7

(WJLA) - Crews with the Army Corps of Engineers will begin the tenuous task Monday of carefully excavating an area of Northwest Washington that was once a testing ground for chemical weapons.

Washington's Spring Valley neighborhood, which encompasses a tony part of the district near American University, was once a dumping and testing ground for chemical munitions during World War I.

On Monday, excavation crews will begin working through what they call "high probability" areas, where they believe there's a greater chance of finding debris, glass and contaminated soil.

The excavation and search for chemical weapons remnants has been going on for more than a decade. Last November, a home on Glenbrook Road Northwest was demolished after material dating back to 1917.

More recently, a sealed test tube containing tear gas was found in May.

According to WTOP, workers will use a small excavator to shave ultra-thin layers of dirt from the site until they come across traces of agents or debris.