Cleaning up EPA testing thousands of drums at Curtis Bay chemical company

August 15, 1991

A federal toxic waste cleanup crew continues to test chemicals in thousands of drums that had been stored illegally at a chemical drum recycling firm in Curtis Bay, on the Baltimore-Anne Arundel County border.

The cleanup, being directed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has found 23,733 drums at Drumco Inc., a chemical drum recycling company, according to George W. English, EPA's on-scene coordinator. That is about 10,000 more drums than were originally estimated to be on the overgrown 14-acre property, which adjoins another site where hazardous wastes also had been dumped.

"There's more of these places around than you can think about," said English.

Only 5,577 drums have chemicals in them, English said. The substances in them, many of them corrosive or flammable, are being tested and repacked for shipment off-site and disposal, probably in a hazardous waste incinerator.

The cleanup, which began six weeks ago, should continue for another three to seven weeks and is expected to cost nearly $2 million. The site was reported to the Maryland Department of the Environment by a local resident last year.

The firm's owner, George Garratt III of Sykesville, was sentenced last month to 90 days in jail by an Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge.

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