The state Board of Public Works has approved spending $1.6 million to haul dirt contaminated with toxic chromium from the Dundalk Marine Terminal.
The board awarded a contract yesterday to Continental Vanguard of Bellmawr, N.J., to treat the terminal's hazardous soil and dispose of it in Michigan.
About 3,000 cubic yards of chromium-contaminated dirt are stored illegally at the 570-acre terminal.
The Maryland Port Administration, which runs the terminal, lacks state permits to store hazardous waste, and so is required to have it hauled away for disposal by a licensed contractor.
The board gave the contract to Continental Vanguard despite a Florida firm's proposal that it could decontaminate the dirt without having to remove it for a fraction of the cost of taking it to Michigan.
The contract provides for removal of another 3,000 cubic yards of chrome-laden soil, which is to be excavated in the next year for two construction projects at the terminal.