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Forum on chemical site planned

January 13, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - The public is invited to attend a Jan. 23 meeting to discuss future uses for Central Chemical's contaminated 19-acre property in Hagerstown's West End.

The property off Mitchell Avenue was put on the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund list of the country's most hazardous waste sites in 1997.

A Land Use Committee charged with recommending future uses for the property toured the land in mid-December.

The committee has about 25 members, including government officials, the president of Central Chemical, citizens and members of nonprofit organizations.

In late September, the city awarded a $67,686 contract to E2 of Charlottesville, Va., to help organize a public outreach, facilitate the committee and public meetings and provide technical review of ideas developed. Funding for the contract comes from an EPA grant.

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The project's intent is to let the EPA know what the community thinks should be done with the property. The EPA will determine whether that use is realistic and feasible.

What is built at the site depends on the nature and level of the contamination, city and EPA officials said.

During its meetings, the committee is scheduled to review technical reports, brainstorm re-use ideas and select a preferred re-use plan. The committee is scheduled to make a recommendation to the city and the EPA in June.

The June 23 meeting is at 1300 Marshall St. in Hagerstown.

"The meeting will provide an opportunity for individuals to share questions and concerns with the representatives of the city, EPA, the consultant team and the Land Use Committee, working on the Central Chemical Superfund site," Hagerstown Planning Director Kathleen Maher said.

The committee plans to hold eight committee meetings and three public input sessions.

The EPA plans to conduct research, including taking soil samples, to determine the extent of contamination. That analysis, which will include a feasibility study for the cleanup, will take about two years, he 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 and in a sinkhole. Contaminants on the site include arsenic, lead, benzene, aldrin, chlordane, DDD, DDE, DDT, dieldrin and methoxychlor.

For more information about the meeting call 301 739-8577, extension 138.

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