Brooklyn Park's Toxic Waste To Be Shipped Out Of State

Remains Of The Dump Are Now Under Guard

May 19, 1991|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff writer

Toxic waste discovered in Brooklyn Park will eventually find its wayto New York, South Carolina and Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, it sitsunder 24-hour guard on an 86-acre site near Mount Calvary Cemetery.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials had expected to remove 400 decaying chemical drums last week from the dump on Snow HillLane, north of the Beltway.

Their plans went awry, however, when federal officials disqualified the private hauler whose low bid had won the government contract, said Walter Lee, EPA's on-scene coordinator. Lee expects a new hauler will be hired by May 27.

Lee said thedrums and contaminated soil, which have been packed in protective containers, do not pose a significant danger.

"Still, we want to getrid of them as fast as we can," Lee said.

Lee's emergency response team visited the site Feb. 11 after the owners, DWC Trust Holding Co., did not respond to a November 1990 order to remove the drums.

EPA workers finished their emergency cleanup March 26. They loaded the 55-gallon barrels and contaminated soil on a platform in the middleof the site.

Because the site has been used by recreational off-road vehicles and target shooters, the EPA fenced it off and placed itunder 24-hour guard.

EPA and state Department of the Environment officials believe the site was used as an illegal toxic waste dump during the 1950s and 1960s by Henry Siejack, who had similar operationselsewhere around the Baltimore area.

"Unfortunately for society, this (unpermitted dumping) isn't unusual," Lee said.

State health officials discovered drums strewn about the site, which is bordered by Cabin Branch, in 1982. Many of the drums had already spilled their contents.

The EPA began evaluating the site in 1987 but took no action until last year, when soil tests showed the presence of lead, zinc, chromium and polychlorinated biphenyls.

Lead, which can cause brain damage, was the primary threat, officials said.

EPA officials had expected to spend up to $2 million on the site.However, on Friday, Lee estimated the cost of the cleanup at $800,000.

Workers hadto remove much less contaminated soil than expected.

"To me, it looks like we got it all before it migrated," Lee said, adding that hedid not believe any toxic chemicals reached Cabin Branch.

He saidsome material will be shipped to landfills in Massachusetts and New York. The remainder will go to an incinerator in South Carolina.

The EPA will attempt to recover the cleanup cost from the property owners and could sue for triple damages, a spokeswoman said.

The SnowHill Lane dump is one of 29 in Anne Arundel County on the state's list of possible hazardous waste sites.

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