Results of Environmental Protection Agency tests for the toxic chemical dioxin along Alexandria's waterfront are expected to be released in two weeks.
John R. Ruggero, an environmental scientist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said last week the agency is working toward April 15 "as a target date."
In December and January, EPA technicians clad in bulky, chemical-resistant suits took soil, water and fish samples to test for dioxin, a compound produced in the manufacture of herbicides and pesticides. They concentrated on a waterfront site that includes Oronoco Bay Park, town houses and an office complex.
The federal officials said they chose the site because part of it was occupied for about 50 years by the R.H. Bogle chemical plant, which manufactured herbicides before it closed in 1976. The testing was part of a national program to identify dioxin-contaminated sites.
If the test results show any level of dioxin, EPA technicians will return to Alexandria to continue testing, the officials said.
There have been no known reports of anyone who has lived or worked in the area of about five blocks near the waterfront becoming ill because of dioxin.
Construction on the TransPotomac Canal Center, a $90 million office and retail complex 1,200 feet from the former Bogle site, is proceeding despite some minor problems caused by the dioxin testing.
The EPA, concerned that dredging of the river along the waterfront site might spread dioxin if it is present in the water, asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to hold up a dredging permit requested by the developers.
To meet EPA concerns, the developers modified their site design so that dredging would take place only above the high-water mark along the river.