More test wells set for leaking landfill SOUTHWEST--Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

June 17, 1993|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

Howard County officials plan to more closely monitor the closed Carrs Mill Landfill by installing several more test wells near it.

Since 1991, Howard and state health authorities have tested 10 nearby residential wells for traces of a solvent leaking from the landfill into a branch of Cattail Creek. They expect to install four to six test wells in the next two months.

The chemical, trichloroethylene (TCE), is a suspected carcinogen, but so far has not contaminated drinking water, officials said.

Besides the creek, the chlorinated solvent and one other contaminant have been found in a monitoring well along the Carrs Mill boundary of the former landfill near Lisbon.

County officials hope the additional wells will help them determine the spread of the chemicals. The most recent residential well test was completed in February, said Frank Skinner, director of the Environmental Health Bureau.

Health officials have found about five to seven parts per billion of TCE in the creek, near Bushy Park and Carrs Mill roads. But the chemical evaporates quickly from the waterway, long before reaching the Triadelphia Reservoir.

Under guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency, five parts per billion of TCE is the maximum contaminant level considered safe for drinking water supplies. Cattail Creek, a surface water, has no established standards.

"We need to get a better definition of what the contamination level is," said John O'Hara, chief of the Howard public works department's Bureau of Environmental Services. "It's too premature to tell what the extent is."

The former landfill has two monitoring wells along its perimeters.

"The purpose of the wells is to monitor the ground water along the boundary of the landfill property," Mr. O'Hara said.

Officials said they are concerned about volatile organic compounds, such as TCE, because they are suspected carcinogens and have established EPA guidelines on maximum contaminant levels.

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