Hazardous Site Cleanup Won't Begin For 2 Years

January 26, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff writer

Getting to work on cleaning up the closed Bush Valley Landfill, a hazardous waste site on the federal Superfund list, could be two years away, said consultants hired to develop a cleanup plan.

The consultants, Geraghty & Miller Inc. of Annapolis, expect to start developing a plan to clean up the closed dump by March.

But Mark Wagner, the consulting firm's project manager, said it will take at least 23 months before a cleanup plan is put in operationat the Abingdon landfill.

No estimate of the cost of the cleanup has been discussed.

Geraghty & Miller representatives met with county administrators and about a half-dozen citizens on Tuesday to outline the cleanup project at the dump, between Bush Road and the Bush Declaration Natural Resources Management Area.

Morris Wolf, a Baltimore County developer who wants to build 719 homes across Bush Road from the landfill, also attended the meeting, along with his attorney and consultants.

Citizens concerned about health hazards posed by contaminants at the landfill said they are undaunted by the time it could take to clean the site.

"I'm just glad they're doing it," said Jan Stinchcomb, an Abingdon resident who attended the meeting. "I'mmore interested that they do a thorough, good job rather than rush it."

The first stage of the project, the work done by Geraghty & Miller, will cost an estimated $1 million, said Deputy County Attorney Jefferson Blomquist.

The county will have to pay for the project unless responsible parties are named through legal proceedings, Blomquist said. The county can't initiate the proceed ings until a cleanup plan is adopted.

Diannalea Hughes, of Abingdon, objected to the use of county money to clean up the landfill. "If the county doesn't own the site, why are county tax dollars going into it?" she asked. "It's pretty bad that my taxes are going into this site."

Blomquist said the county is required to take action because the federal Environmental Protection Agency has named Harford as a "responsible party" for the cleanup. Municipal waste was dumped at the landfill.

He said several companies, including American Cyanamid Co. of Havre de Grace and Hazelton Lab Corp. of Herndon, Va., and the dump's current owners, the Lloyd Harris estate, have been named by the EPA as potentially responsible parties.

The 29-acre landfill accepted municipal trash and other waste between 1974 and 1982. The EPA placed the site on its Superfund list after a preliminary inspection in 1984 found toxicchemicals in ground water beneath the dump.

Geraghty & Miller is awaiting EPA approval of its proposed work plan for studies to be done at the site, said Wagner.

Once the work plan is approved, the consultants will collect air, soil, surface water and ground water samples from the site and adjacent properties, Wagner said.

The samples will be sent to an EPA laboratory to determine the presence and amount of contaminants, Wagner said.

Geraghty & Miller and the EPA will then develop proposals to ensure the public is safe from any contaminants at the site, Wagner said. The proposals could range from doing nothing to putting a fence around the dump to removing tainted materials.

Wagner noted that the public will be able to comment on theproposals before any of them is accepted by the EPA. In addition, the work plan, as well as monthly EPA reports on the project, will be available for public reviews at county libraries.

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