Base officials have recommended that several World War II-era trenches be excavated to determine if they were used for storage of chemical warfare material.
The site currently "poses no health risk," said Robert Wood, chief of the Environmental Restoration Division at Edwards. "But complete excavation is the only way we will ever know the trenches' contents."
The four trenches, 9 feet deep, 15 feet wide and 150 feet long, are near a dormitory complex where 158 airmen live. Base spokesman Maj. Tom Gilroy said Friday that archival records show they may have contained the chemical agents mustard, lewisite, phosgene and chloropicrin.
Edwards, best known for its flight test center, was first used by the government in 1933 as a remote bombing range, and the sparsely populated desert area was used for a variety of military activities during WWII, including chemical weapons training, Gilroy said.