A Former Toxic Waste Dump Sells for Over a Million

In an illustration of how hot the real estate market is, an empty lot about a third of an acre in a popular District of Columbia neighborhood was listed for sale at $1,295,000 and had a contract within five days. We don't yet know how many people bid on the property or what the pending sale price is. The kicker is that the site was a dumping ground for toxic chemicals during the aftermath of World War I. Mustard gas and other chemical warfare agents were buried there by a lab who was developing and testing chemical weapons for the US military.

On the back of a 1918 photograph, Sergeant Charles Maurer described the waste pit as “the most feared and respected place on the grounds. The bottles are full of mustard, to be destroyed here. In Death Valley. The hole called Hades.”

Washington, DC, has grown a lot over the past 100 years, and the area is now residential. The buried chemicals were forgotten until they were found by a construction crew in 1993. A cleanup ensued, which required the demolition of the grand house that stood over the pit. The cleanup began in the 1990s, but was only completed last November! Over those decades, crews removed chemical warfare agents, munitions, a ton of laboratory debris, and 7,500 tons of contaminated soil. Read about the toxic waste dump at Washingtonian. 

(Image credit: Army Corps of Engineers)

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