As per the latest development, Fort Totten Park in Washington DC has been closed due to the discovery of World War I-era munitions. This has raised concerns about the potential presence of additional hazardous materials within the park grounds.
Situated three miles north of the Capitol, the Civil War-era fort is now enclosed by fences, cement barriers, whereas ‘no trespassing’ signs has been added. This has been announced by the National Park Service.
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Reports add that two metal canisters were found of late, which prompted the closure of the park. This event was followed by unauthorized excavation work by an adjacent property owner, which resulted in approximately 10 ft of soil being deposited onto National Park Service land. The munitions found included a 75-mm projectile measuring 3 in in diameter and 11 in in length, and a Livens projectile measuring 6 in in diameter and 19 in in length.
Initial assessments were made by the Army experts, which indicated that the 75-mm projectile did not pose a hazard, whereas the Livens projectile contained an unidentified liquid. The Army’s Materiel Assessment Review Board transported and evaluated the items. Although the initial testing of the liquid in the Livens projectile was inconclusive, subsequent testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Edgewood, Maryland, revealed that the Livens projectile did not present a hazard.
Further examinations determined that the 75-mm projectile contained only soil, while the Livens projectile was filled 85% with a liquid composed mainly of water and a negligible amount (0.0006%) of acetophenone, a non-hazardous commercial chemical used in soaps and perfumes.
Reports add that the National Park Service and the Army are now seeking funding to conduct a comprehensive investigation at Fort Totten Park. Meanwhile, visitors have been strongly advised to stay away from the area. If anyone comes across a munition, it is crucial to consider it dangerous, avoid approaching or touching it, and promptly contact the police.
As of now, the timeline for reopening the park remains uncertain.