Wells to be dug in road near Superfund site

September 09, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ


Six wells will be dug through roads in Hagerstown's North End next week to help monitor groundwater near the former Central Chemical plant.

It will take three or four days to drill each well, said Bill Murray of URS Corp., an engineering firm overseeing the project.

Normally, it would take a day, he said. This time, it will take longer because of an effort to log information about subsurface rock, Murray said.


The Central Chemical Site Community Liaison Panel discussed the wells and other details of the project at a meeting Thursday.

The panel includes Murray, representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, companies paying to clean up the land and local residents.

Central Chemical was a pesticide and fertilizer company. The plant on Mitchell Avenue closed in the mid-1980s, leaving pesticides and metals that were dumped in the soil and groundwater.

It is now a federal Superfund waste site.

Murray said the new wells will be:

  • Two on Florida Avenue

  • One on West Irvin Avenue

  • One on Kasinoff Avenue

  • One at the corner of Langdon Street and Linganore Avenue

  • One on Arlington Avenue, about 100 feet away from Florida Avenue.

He said the wells will be dug in the road and topped with what will look like a small manhole. The roads probably will stay open, but might be reduced to one lane of traffic at a time.

Panel members debated whether to limit drilling to one day per well or to spend extra time to gather more information. They agreed on the longer period.

Murray said logging takes longer because it requires extra steps, including steel casings, cement and a mid-job analysis, before all of the well is drilled.

"If there's some inconvenience to the citizens, it'll pay off in the long run" with more data, said panel member Eric Newman, who works for the EPA.

The panel agreed to alert people living in the neighborhood about the work by sending them postcards.

Murray said 15 wells have been drilled on the plant site and 12 have been sampled.

He told the panel that nearby springs have not tested positive for pesticides.

Organic compounds have been present below laboratory limits. Metals also have been present, but not arsenic or lead, which are of more concern, Murray said.

A study of the site and its surrounding area is about two-thirds complete, he said after the meeting.

The next step after that will be deciding how to clean up the site.

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