While conducting ongoing remediation work June 4 on American University’s former Public Safety Building, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) discovered numerous suspected WWI-era full or partial 75 mm munitions. Out of an abundance of caution, USACE personnel assessed the site and immediately coordinated with Fort Belvoir's 55th Ordnance Company and Metro DC Fire Department, who reported to the scene. Two items required further assessment and were transported to Aberdeen Proving Ground that same day.

The U.S. Army’s assessment team has determined that all indications demonstrate the two items of concern are NOT chemical warfare materiel. Based on that assessment, USACE will return to work at the site, effective June 12, 2024, with all safety procedures and protocols called for by our low probability work plan in place. These procedures include 100% visual oversight of work by highly trained unexploded ordnance safety specialists, full-time perimeter monitoring of our work-site, and a robust contingency plan if suspect items or materials are encountered.

The former Public Safety Building is located on the southern edge of the AU’s campus. During the World War I era, this area of the campus and the Spring Valley neighborhood was known as the American University Experiment Station (AUES). It was used by the U.S. government for engineer troop training, research and testing of chemical agents, equipment and munitions. This area is now referred to as the Spring Valley Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS). USACE's current goal is to remove suspected AUES debris located under and in the immediate vicinity of the former Public Safety Building’s foundation, as was done on June 4.

All work plans and safety procedures are reviewed by internal Army experts, as well as our Partners, American University, the Environmental Protection Agency Region III and the D.C. Department of Energy and the Environment. Safety remains the number one priority for USACE. Throughout every phase of the project, all necessary precautions are taken to ensure the safety of the site workers, the AU campus, the residents of the community, and those walking and driving by.



The first Five Year Review (FYR) of environmental remedial actions for the Spring Valley Formerly Used Defense Site (SVFUDS) in Washington, D.C., was completed on April 4, 2024. Click here for details.

Document: First Five Year Review Report for Spring Valley Formerly Used Defense Site


Final Site-Wide Decision Document

The Final Site-Wide Decision Document is complete and available at the Information Repository and for download here on our site. The Decision Document outlines the selected remedies to address both unacceptable risks posed by soil contamination and unacceptable explosive hazards posed by the possible presence of munitions and explosives of concern (MEC).

Click here to visit the Site-Wide section of the Spring Valley page where the Final Site-Wide Decision Document can be downloaded

Spring Valley Overview

The Spring Valley Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) consists of approximately 660 acres in the northwest section of Washington, D.C. During the World War I‐era, the site was known as the American University Experiment Station, and was used by the U.S. government for research and testing of chemical agents, equipment, and munitions. Today, the site encompasses approximately 1,600 private properties, including several embassies and foreign properties, as well as the American University and Wesley Seminary.

Project Efforts

Project Update

4825 Glenbrook Road



Community Participation



The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District has the lead responsibility for investigation and cleanup actions at the Spring Valley FUDS and has entered into a formal partnering process with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington, D.C. District Department of the Environment. The three organizations, referred to as the partners, have agreed to prioritize the project work by risk, addressing the highest risks first. The Corps investigation includes the identification and removal of arsenic‐contaminated soil, a groundwater investigation, and the search for additional munitions, both in burial pits and isolated items on residential properties.

Information Repository

The Information Repository is located at the Tenley-Friendship Branch Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C.  Hard copies and digital records of key project documents can be found upstairs in the Reference Section.  The document collection includes a variety of materials created since the start of the project, 20 years ago. Check with the reference librarian to direct you to our shelves of materials. You can click here for a PDF scan of the master list of documents located in the Information Repository.

Also, on your next visit to the library, ask at the Reference Desk for the Spring Valley FUDS large binder, which has a table of contents and almost a hundred disks that contain years of digital records available for research and review. These disks must be checked out from the librarian and are only available for use on the library’s public computers during your visit.  If there is a piece of information you cannot locate in the library, please contact the Community Outreach Team at 410-962-0157.

Additional archived documents not found in the library or here on the Web site can be found at

Munitions Safety Video

Contact Information

Baltimore District Public Affairs Office