Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered the Department of the Army to move forward with the cleanup of 14 hazardous waste sites on the Fort George G. Meade military base in Anne Arundel County, MD, and adjacent property.
The order, issued under EPA’s authority to address solid and hazardous wastes that may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment, requires the Army to assess the nature and extent of the contamination and determine and implement appropriate corrective measures.
The contaminants of concern include numerous solvents and heavy metals, explosives, arsenic and PCBs. Elevated levels of volatile organic compounds, pesticides and explosive compounds have been detected in aquifers. Low levels of volatile organic compounds, below health-based standards, have been detected in residential wells located in Odenton, MD.
People who drink water containing volatile organic compounds may develop liver problems and have an increased risk of getting cancer. Exposure to PCBs may cause skin rashes, immune system problems, and a potential for increased cancer risk.
The Army has been working to address wastes at the site since 1998 when the Fort Meade installation was designated as a Superfund site. This order ensures that the work proceeds under appropriate EPA oversight.