EPA orders fencing for Central Chemical site

March 04, 1997


Staff Writer

Up to four times the federal action level of the pesticide DDT was found in some soil samples taken from an unfenced area adjacent to the Central Chemical Corp. site off Mitchell Avenue in Hagerstown, according to an Environmental Protection Agency official.

That finding, coupled with reports of children playing, prompted the EPA on Monday to issue a consent order requiring the company to put up a 10-foot-high fence around the area, said Dan McGoldrick, the EPA's on-scene coordinator for the site.

Contaminated soil samples were found up to 13 feet outside the northwest corner of the company's fenced property, which adjoins a field behind a residential neighborhood, McGoldrick said.


The Central Chemical Corp. site is under consideration for inclusion in the EPA's National Priority List, which identifies the country's most serious hazardous waste sites, he said.

To comply with the order, Central Chemical will extend its fencing 20 feet out from the current fence line in the area where the toxins were found, McGoldrick said.

The roughly 575 feet of new fencing must be 10 feet high to meet EPA standards, he said.

The consent order reflects a joint agreement between the EPA and Central Chemical, said McGoldrick, who said the company has asked Hagerstown to grant an exception to a zoning ordinance that restricts fence height to 6 feet.

A zoning appeals board hearing scheduled for Feb. 19 was postponed. The hearing has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. March 19.

Central Chemical is prepared to comply with the order as soon as it gets zoning authorization, said company attorney Thomas Lynch, of Frederick, Md.

Lynch said that to his knowledge the company has not received reports of children playing in the field behind the old plant property.

"The company is cooperating with the EPA because the company wants to cooperate with the EPA and address what they consider a risk," he said.

Central Chemical has owned the property since the late 1930s, producing agricultural fertilizers there until it stopped operating as a production plant in the early 1980s, Lynch said.

From the late 1940s until 1965, the plant also produced pesticides, he said.

The plant is now leased to Hagerstown Recycling and Trucking, Lynch said.

The Maryland Department of the Environment recently requested help at the site after DDT and chlordane were found in soil samples taken outside the existing fence, said Beth Creamer, project manager for the state agency.

The state agency also passed on concerns that children might be playing in the area, said Creamer, who said she saw children riding bicycles in another part of the field last summer.

There have been no reports of children playing in the area since that time, she said.

Residents of the neighboring Brighton Manor subdivision said they sometimes see older kids and adults in the field, but they haven't seen young children playing there recently.

Pam Hayes, who moved to the subdivision 21/2 years ago, said she has seen older kids hanging around in the field at night.

The Herald-Mail Articles