Funding sought for cleanup at APG

April 04, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Aberdeen Proving Ground environmental cleanup officers have received approval from the Department of the Army to seek research funding to clean up high levels of a rocket-fuel component found in the soil near the city of Aberdeen's well field.

But Ken Stachiw, head of APG's cleanup program, said Friday the plan has only a "50-50" chance of coming together.

"It's not a sure thing," he said, adding that his staff hoped to learn this week from APG officials whether such funding would be likely.

Aberdeen's wells are contaminated with perchlorate, an additive also used in explosive devices such as grenades. While levels in the groundwater have not exceeded about 23 parts per billion, soil tests of the area last year revealed levels as high as 15,000 parts per billion.

The Army acknowledges causing the contamination but has refused to clean it up because there is no national cleanup standard. How much perchlorate is hazardous to humans is not known.

But the chemical is known to disrupt thyroid function and is suspected of contributing to developmental problems in fetuses, infants and young children.

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