Paint in stream is declared no threat

September 27, 1996|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,SUN STAFF

State environmental officials say latex paint that washed into a stream Wednesday near a footpath along White Acre Road in Columbia's Oakland Mills village poses no threat to the surrounding environment.

About 7: 30 p.m., Howard County fire officials responded to a call of a "white chemical" floating in the stream near Talbot Springs Elementary School.

Firefighters couldn't contain the mixture with dikes because it was solvent. But water samples revealed the liquid had "minor indications" of mercury -- which is used to prevent paint from molding in cans -- said Quentin Banks, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Banks said investigators believe someone washed out paintbrushes in their driveway or yard upstream, causing the paint to flow into the storm drain and down the stream. But Banks cautioned that the levels of paint were not dangerous and would dilute naturally.

"There were fish swimming along as we were taking the water samples, so it's not putting a huge risk on the surrounding environment at all," he said.

Pub Date: 9/27/96

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