Property slated for a housing project at Fort Meade contains some hazardous materials but is suitable for redevelopment, according to environmental documents that the Army released yesterday.
After initially declining to provide the reports to a review board and The Sun, Army officials released yesterday several studies conducted months ago on land that Fort Meade is leasing to a private company. The contractor plans to build about 3,000 houses for soldiers there.
The documents confirm the presence of asbestos, radon and lead-based paint at the property on the post's north side. They warn that three transformers using PCBs - polychlorinated biphenyls - are in use on the Anne Arundel County base. Exposure to PCBs can irritate skin and cause liver damage.
Despite those findings, the documents give the 5,500-acre base a clean bill of health for its privatization plan, a $3 billion initiative under which a private company, Picerne Real Estate Group, will build and manage the houses under a 50-year lease.
The Army released the documents after members of the Restoration Advisory Board, the panel of regulators and area residents that has been monitoring the base's cleanup efforts since it was placed on the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund list of hazardous sites in 1998, complained this week that they never received them. Army officials signed all the documents May 1, and Picerne assumed management of all property the same day.