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Water Test Finds Toxic Substance

Posted: April 4, 2010 at 8:13 am

By Carol D. Leonnig

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, November 19, 2004; Page B01

A more refined test of the water in the Washington Aqueduct has revealed the presence of perchlorate, a toxic chemical typically found in weapons and explosives, federal officials said yesterday.

The discovery of the chemical in the water supply challenges the prevailing theory of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has argued that contamination from buried World War I munitions in the Spring Valley neighborhood to the north poses no threat to Dalecarlia Reservoir along MacArthur Avenue NW.

Thomas P. Jacobus, chief of the Washington Aqueduct, said perchlorate in the reservoir measured between 1.2 and 1.8 parts per billion (ppb) and did not pose a health risk. He said he has ordered weekly tests of the water and is recommending that the corps accelerate its search for the source of perchlorate contamination.

"I'm obviously concerned about anything that has to do with drinking water. . . . But there is no cause for alarm," Jacobus said. Read more...

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