The City of Baltimore has been ordered to clean up toxic wastes discovered behind a Brooklyn Park cemetery last winter, a spokesman for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.
The city must removeat least 60 decaying chemical drums as well as contaminated soil from an 86-acre dump at the end of Snow Hill Lane, north of the Beltway,said EPA spokesman David Sternberg.
The city owns 3,000 square feet along the eastern edge, inside its Pennington Avenue Landfill, Sternberg said.
The EPA began the clean up in February after discovering alarmingly high levels of lead, which can cause brain damage, in the soil.
The federal agency already has removed 212 drums and 60 cubic feet of contaminated soil fromthe site near Mount Calvary Cemetery. The site is under 24-hour guard.
A family trust, known as DWC Trust Holding Co., owns the bulk of the Superfund site, which regulators believe was operated as an unregulated landfill during the 1950s and 1960s.
Baltimore officials signed a consent order last month. Under the 1980 federal Superfund law, all property owners, operators, waste haulers and generators linked to a toxic waste site can be held responsible for its clean up.
"If we identify more drums of hazardous substances, and we suspect there may be more drums on the landfill, they will be responsible to clean those up as well," Sternberg said. "We are going to investigate some other areas of the landfill where we suspect there maybe some other drums."
State health officials discovered drums strewn about the site, bordered by the Cabin Branch, in 1982. They discovered high levels of lead, chromium, copper, cyanide, zinc and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCPs) last September.
EPA officials estimate the site may contain more than 400 drums. The EPA has spent $777,338 on the clean up, shipping hazardous wastes to Massachusetts, New York and South Carolina. EPA officials have said they will attempt to recover cost from the property owners and could sue for triple damages.