ELDERSBURG -- After Lorraine Small's husband passed away about two weeks ago, she began to sort through some of his belongings while straightening up the house. But when she came upon a collection of chemicals her husband used in his septic testing business, Mrs. Small knew she had stumbled upon something she could not properly dispose of.
Mrs. Small alerted the Carroll County Emergency Operations Center Thursday and county officials, in turn, summoned state and federal officials to the home in the residential community of Gaither. Officials said in a news briefing yesterday that removal of the 500 to 1,000 containers of potentially hazardous material could take as much as two weeks, although the chemicals posed no imminent threat to the community. "She certainly did the responsible thing in dealing with it," said James Pittman, acting deputy director of the hazardous and solid waste administration of the Maryland Department of the Environment.
Officials said they will need as much as two weeks to catalog and remove the waste, which cannot be sent to out-of-state disposal sites until all of the containers are identified. But, they stressed that most of the substances identified so far are chemicals that typically would be used in a high school chemistry lab.