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EPA to detail Superfund site analysis

March 04, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials are scheduled to meet with area residents Thursday night to explain their plans to take soil and water samples at a 19-acre property in Hagers-town's West End to analyze the extent of the property's contamination and determine the cost of cleaning it up.

At seven tables with information on different parts of the planned work, EPA officials will answer questions about the plans for the Central Chemical site off Mitchell Avenue, EPA Remedial Project Manager Eric Newman said.

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

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Soil and water samples will be taken at the property within the next two months, Newman said. Those test results then will be examined and analyzed, which will help the EPA determine what can safely go at that site and how much it would cost to clean up toxic chemicals, Newman said.

The EPA work, which is expected to take about two years, is separate from a citizens committee that is trying to develop, by June, a recommendation to let the EPA and the city know what the community thinks should be done with the property, Newman said.

The meeting with citizens is intended to give people a chance to have their questions answered about the process, Newman 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.

The EPA did sporadic sampling in the mid-1990s but needs to do more extensive sampling now to determine the location of the chemicals on the property, their risk levels and other details, Newman said.

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