Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park

Park Service defends actions after finding arsenic at Fort Reno

May 15, 2008, 10:28 am

The National Park Service was fending off uncomfortable questions Wednesday after it waited 14 hours to tell the public that one of Northwest’s most popular parks was potentially tainted with poison.

The Park Service and U.S. Park Police swooped into Fort Reno Park early Wednesday, moving out pedestrians and throwing up storm fences. Officials said satellite pictures from the U.S. Geological Survey revealed pockets of arsenic on the ground that were nearly twice federal safety standards.

The park has been closed to visitors until the arsenic can be removed, officials said. There was no timetable for reopening. It took until 9 a.m. for federal officials to call the D.C. Department of Health. The D.C. fire department wasn’t notified until around 1 p.m., a spokesman told The Examiner.