Science Inventory

THE ROLE OF HISTORICAL AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS IN THE REMEDIATION OF WWI CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION IN THE SPRING VALLEY SUPERFUND SITE, WASHINGTON, DC

Citation:

Slonecker, E T. THE ROLE OF HISTORICAL AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS IN THE REMEDIATION OF WWI CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION IN THE SPRING VALLEY SUPERFUND SITE, WASHINGTON, DC. Presented at Geography 412: Aerial Photography Interpretation, Fairfax, VA, November 6, 2002.

Impact/Purpose:

The objectives of this task are to provide site-specific information on the condition and activities occurring at hazardous waste sites at a point in time or over a historical period; document these conditions and changes; provide guides in the form of reports, maps, and photographs for assisting in the safe cleanup of hazardous waste materials; and assist in emergency response and enforcement efforts when requested by client offices. Remote sensing technical support is provided to all EPA Regional Superfund Offices and OERR, and includes: hazardous waste disposal site characterization and mapping; annotated aerial photographs; and enforcement support. Funding will support two Interagency Agreements to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to support facility/maintenance costs and access to and use of equipment and classified data by the Landscape Ecology Branch/Environmental Photographic Interpretation Center (LEB/EPIC) staff assigned to that location. Funding will also provide for the operation and maintenence of ESD's remote sensing and spatial data library/archive needed to support the various Superfund projects requested by EPA client offices during the year. Funding will also provide for a Senior Environmental Employee (SEE) to provide clerical support at the LEB/EPIC USGS location.

Extramural Superfund funding will also support R&D Superfund activities in remote sensing for ultimate use in the technical support program.

Description:

During World War 1, The American University in Washington D.C. was used by the U.S. Army as an experiment station for the development and testing of a variety of battlefield munitions including chemical weapons such as Mustard Gas, Phosgene, Ricin and Lewisite, among others. After the end of the War in 1918, many of the weapons and chemical agents were haphazardly buried in and around the American University testing area which is now known as Spring Valley. In 1993, chemical-laden mortar shells were accidentally unearthed by a construction crew setting off a series of investigations that, to date, has cost over 40 million dollars and is still on-going. The EPA/Environmental Photographic Interpretation Center (EPIC) is supporting the on-going Superfund investigation efforts using several spatial technologies. Both conventional and research applications of historical aerial photographs and other remotely sensed imagery, along with GIS database developments, are playing a critical role in the discovery and removal of chemical weapons and contamination in this area. This presentation will document the EPIC's use of historical imagery, GIS, photogrammetry and hyperspectral remote sensing in locating and removing these weapons from the environment.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Product Published Date: 11/06/2002
Record Last Revised: 06/06/2005
Record ID: 60194

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES DIVISION

LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY BRANCH