Chemical Clean-up Ends

January 16, 1991

GAITHER — A public meeting to update neighbors on the removal of chemicals from a Patapsco Drive home will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Hall.

The store of chemicals left behind when Phillip Small died Dec. 16 should be removed by Friday, saidLeanne Nurse, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Nurse said the approximately 1,000 containers, ranging in size from 2 ounces to 2 gallons, have all been sealed or contained in plastic, impermeable drums.

The materials were apparently stored for about seven years by Small, who apparently had been saving them to open a commercial laboratory some day in Sykesville. After his death, his wife, Lorraine, called the county to learn how to dispose of the chemicals.

Small ran a water- and septic-testing lab in his home, but most of the chemicals would not have been used for that, officials said. He died of pancreatic cancer, but state officials said they have found no link between his illness and the chemicals he stored.

Nurse said that at the Feb. 11 meeting she would be able to give residents more information on the chemicals found. A complete list would be very long, she said, so she may list only categories of the chemicalswith some examples.

Nurse said some low-level radioactive materials and a small amount of explosives were removed from the house last week. Other chemicals found include corrosives, flammable gases and liquids, and reactives -- substances that react with air or water.

The Maryland Department of the Environment also is testing water and soil at the Small house and five adjacent properties. The state is testing for two broad categories -- metals and volatile organic compounds, said Charles Zeleski, assistant director of the Environmental Health Bureau of the Carroll County Department of Health.

State offices were closed yesterday, but preliminary results so far appear to benegative, said James E. Slater, director of the Carroll County Department of Natural Resources Protection.

Zeleski said most lab chemicals would show up in those two tests. If any positive results come in, the state will test further, he said.

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