Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Potomac River Haz Mat

United States Park Police Aviation personnel patrol National Park Service lands from the unique perspective of the air.

This vantage point furthers our mission of public safety, Icon protection, and preservation of natural resources.

Aviation patrols on June 8, 2010 touched on all three of these elements.

Aviation Sergeants Kevin Chittick and Chris Perkins completed their patrols of the downtown Washington, DC area and moved up the Potomac River towards Great Falls National Park where two people drowned the week before.

After clearing this treacherous river area, they headed down river for continued checks of the National Mall when they spotted a hazardous material situation impacting on NPS land.

These two saw a cloudy substance in the Potomac River near Little Falls Dam. The source was difficult to locate, however their diligent search indicated that the origin was near the reservoir that supplies drinking water for Washington, DC and Arlington, VA.

United States Park Police ground units and District of Columbia Fire Department staff followed the sightings reported by US Park Police Aviation and confirmed the origin as a facility managed by the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority.

The Fire Department HazMat teams sampled the product and determined it to be “an organic substance” not dangerous to flora or fauna.

As this product was in proximity to the C and O Canal and flowing into the Potomac River, United States Park Police Detectives from our Environmental Crimes Unit will follow up the initial investigation to determine if further study is needed.