Fort Meade cleanup progressing quickly EPA approval expected early next year

September 29, 1998|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

Two of the four parcels the Environmental Protection Agency cited when it put Fort Meade on the list of the nation's most polluted sites are expected to get a stamp of approval from the agency by the beginning of next year, post officials said yesterday.

The cleanup and monitoring done at the post while the EPA was evaluating it for its National Priorities List (NPL) has put Fort Meade ahead in the Superfund process there, which began two months ago, post officials say.

"The grand scheme is, hopefully the NPL listing will be one of the shorter ones," said Paul J. Robert, chief of the Fort Meade Environmental Management Office. "Usually, you get listed, then you see what needs to be done. Here, we are listed, we haven't even negotiated [an] agreement, and we've got things ready."

EPA approval at any or all of those sites does not mean the 80-year-old post will be pulled off the Superfund list.

"The base itself will need to be looked at. There's no way to say how many sites that will be," said Nicholas J. DiNardo, EPA project manager. "I hope this will be over soon, but it won't be by just looking at the four [sites] that were scored."

The EPA announced July 22 that the post had been designated a Superfund site because of pollution at the Defense Reutilization Management Office (DRMO), where 267 drums seeping contaminants were found buried in 1995, and at the post laundry and two landfills.

Robert said environmental workers have done all necessary testing and analysis at the post laundry, where dry cleaning solvents contaminated soil and water, and the clean-fill dump, which was used for 13 years for dumping rubble and appliances.

Post officials said the tests showed only long-term monitoring needed to be done at those sites and that they hope the EPA will agree.

A third site, a 22-foot mound of garbage, dirt and liners spanning 22 acres known as the sanitary landfill, will be capped by PTC November, post officials said. They don't expect approval of that site for a year. And workers have just begun to investigate spreading contamination at the DRMO site.

Fort Meade and the EPA have yet to agree on specific areas that will be included on the NPL, how the sites will be prioritized or a schedule to complete work on each area.

DiNardo said the agency is concentrating on clearing Tipton airfield so that the post can transfer the property to Anne Arundel County, a goal 10 years past due. Although Tipton was not cited by the EPA when it placed Fort Meade on the Superfund list, unexploded shells have been found there.

After the airfield is clean, officials might look at Fort Meade's report on the clean fill dump. The work that has been done there might make the site a higher priority, DiNardo said.

The post laundry might not get a seal of approval so quickly, DiNardo said.

Pub Date: 9/29/98

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