Surface-water sampling scheduled at Baltimore Co.'s Parkton Landfill EPA requests site investigation

February 28, 1993|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,Staff Writer

Maryland environmental officials will take surface water samples at Baltimore County's Parkton Landfill late next week in the first phase of a site investigation requested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Mike Sullivan, a spokesman for the state Department of the Environment, said the initial tests will sample surface water and sediments from streams on the 217-acre site. Leachate -- rainwater that has percolated through the buried refuse -- will also be sampled.

Area residents have long suspected that toxic substances mixed with the household trash have moved into the ground water and threaten their wells.

Their private tests have found evidence of pollution, but the state insists it is not from the landfill.

In late March and early April, ground water samples will be drawn from approximately 10 wells on the landfill property and from 10 nearby residential wells.

The tests will scan for the presence of more than 100 pollutants.

"We're going to look for everything and see what kind of problems we have," Mr. Sullivan said.

Further testing will hinge on the initial results, which are not expected for several months. The discovery of serious levels of contamination could make the site eligible for cleanup under the EPA's Superfund program.

The expanded testing is being conducted by the state at the EPA's request, and under EPA supervision.

The EPA acted after area residents, worried about the safety of private wells in the area, questioned the quality of the leachate tests conducted as part of routine monitoring.

Mr. Sullivan said the leachate tests weren't as sensitive as ground water tests.

"The EPA indicated they would have liked us to have gone lower on some samples," he said. "It's not like they found fault with our procedures or the results of our sampling."

Parkton Landfill operated from 1978 to 1982. It contains shredded refuse that was processed at the county's Resource Recovery Facility in Cockeysville.

Mr. Sullivan said the county has routinely tested drinking water from 20 area wells and has never found pollutants in excess of federal standards.

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