Coast Guard yard in Curtis Bay slated for Superfund list

September 05, 2002|By Rona Kobell | Rona Kobell,SUN STAFF

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce today that it is adding the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay to its Superfund list of the nation's cleanup priorities.

The listing, which has been expected since the EPA recommended adding the site to Superfund last September, will ensure the yard undergoes a thorough study to determine the scope of the contamination, which dates to World War II.

"It means it will receive a very thorough remedial investigation and feasibility study to determine the nature and the extent of contamination," said EPA spokesman David Sternberg. Cleanup would not take place until extensive studies are finished.

The 113-year-old Curtis Bay yard is in northern Anne Arundel County, six miles southeast of downtown Baltimore. The facility provides core industrial support for the Coast Guard, including the design, construction and repair of ships and boats. During World War II, more than 3,000 employees worked round-the-clock repairing ships.

The Coast Guard has spent more than $35,000 studying environmental problems at the yard. They include low levels of soil contaminants such as metals, volatile organic compounds, semivolatile organic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, and dioxins - substances used to clean or insulate equipment that hasn't been used in 50 years. The contamination extends to the sediments of Curtis Creek below the yard's dry docks.

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