Reopening of Washington Monument delayed until August after ‘possibly contaminated soil' found

The reopening of the Washington Monument, which has been closed since 2016, is expected to take place this August after the National Park Service announced delays due to "possibly contaminated soil" which was found underground in the area.

In a posted online, NPS spokesman Mike Litterst said completion of the new security screening building has been delayed following the discovery of the soil. They say the modernization of the monument's elevator is nearly complete, with only testing and certification of the safety systems remaining.

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"The potentially contaminated soil is below the ground surface and poses no risk to public health," Litterst said in the online post. "The soil in question was likely introduced in the 1880s as the monument was being completed. Due to the necessary mitigation efforts, the reopening of the Washington Monument is now expected to take place in August."

The Washington Monument was closed in August 2016 to build the new screening facility and to modernize the elevator that takes visitors to the 500-foot observation level.