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Toxic site cleanup gets funding

July 13, 2000

Toxic site cleanup gets funding

By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


The City of Hagerstown has been awarded a $100,000 grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to plan redevelopment of the Central Chemical site in the city's West End, the EPA announced Thursday.

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The Central Chemical property, which is 19 acres off Mitchell Avenue, is on the EPA's Superfund list of the country's most hazardous waste sites.

The $100,000 grant will be used to hire a consultant to help collect public opinion on what should be put at the site after it's cleaned and also develop a reuse plan for the site, said Kathy Maher, city senior planner.

Maher said the City Council still has to formally accept the grant.

"Through this effort, communities will be able to make sure EPA's cleanup decisions not only remove toxic threats, but also help achieve the community's vision for reuse of the site," EPA Region III Administrator Bradley Campbell said.

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EPA spokeswoman Ruth Wuenschel said the reuse plan will help determine the extent of cleanup needed at the site. She said the cleanup would be different if the site were going to be turned into a parking lot or be used for a day-care facility.

The Central Chemical property was put on the Superfund list in 1997. It is one of 46 Superfund sites in Maryland, Wuenschel said.

According to the EPA, from the 1930s through the mid-1980s Central Chemical blended agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, creating waste and byproducts that were allegedly disposed of in an old stone quarry on the property.

The contaminants on the site include arsenic, lead, benzene, aldrin, chlordane, DDD, DDE, DDT, dieldrin and methoxychlor.

Wuenschel said the EPA is reviewing a plan to do a comprehensive investigation of the contaminants on the property.

In August 1997, EPA entered into an agreement with seven parties including Allied Signal, FMC, Novaritis, Olin, Shell Oil, Union Carbide and Wilmington Securities to conduct the cleanup investigation at the site, according to a statement announcing the grant.

Wuenschel said that since 1997 the EPA and the companies have been negotiating how the site investigation will be conducted.

She said testing at the site probably will begin in the fall.

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