Crews find 11 more drums in Carrs Mill Landfill cleanup

November 02, 1993|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff Writer

After finding 150 drums -- some of them containing toxic solvents -- in one area at Carrs Mill Landfill, cleanup crews pulled 11 more 55-gallon drums out of a second location yesterday.

Officials in the Howard County Public Works Department, which is in charge of the county's one operating and two closed landfills, are investigating the dumping by looking through old records and trying to find former landfill workers.

State officials continue to monitor the county's cleanup efforts, saying that, so far, there is no need for any other government agency to get involved with the cleanup.

The county is trying to adhere to regulations that apply to toxic cleanup sites listed as a priority under the Environmental Protection Agency's "Superfund" program, said John J. O'Hara, chief of Howard's Bureau of Environmental Services.

The Carrs Mill site will not be placed on the Superfund list if the county continues to assume responsibility for the contamination and provide for its cleanup, said Michael P. Sullivan, spokesman for the state Department of the Environment, which is responsible for enforcing federal environmental regulations in Maryland.

The dozen or so Superfund sites in the state are placed on the list to ensure they are cleaned up, in particular when it is uncertain who is responsible for the contamination or whether those responsible will admit liability.

Although the dumping probably was done before strict environmental regulations were enacted, it was clearly illegal under environmental regulations of the 1970s, Mr. O'Hara said. The landfill closed in 1976.

After an estimated 30 drums were initially located visually or through use of metal detectors Sept. 30, officials estimated that the cleanup might be finished within two weeks.

After the work started Oct. 14, crews found more drums on the site. And the discovery of 11 more today has brought the total to 161 and postponed the estimated completion date.

As of last week, contractor Clean Venture Inc. of Linthicum had performed about $52,000 worth of cleanup work, and had not finished removing drums from the first hole, said Mr. O'Hara.

If clearing out the second hole takes as long, the total might reach about $100,000 for removal and temporary storage, he said.

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