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Agencies Finalize Agreement for Cleanup at Fort Meade

Release Date: 06/22/2009
Contact Information: David Sternberg, 215-814-5548; sternberg.david@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (June 22, 2008) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today an inter-agency agreement among four federal agencies for the cleanup of the Fort George G. Meade Superfund site in Maryland.

This Federal Facility Agreement -- signed by officials from the EPA, U.S. Army, U.S. Department of the Interior / Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Architect of the Capitol – ensures that ongoing cleanup actions proceed under appropriate enforceable EPA oversight, in a manner that protects the community and the environment. The Army could face penalties of up to $10,000 a week if it fails to comply with the terms of this agreement.

"Today’s agreement is a significant milestone that will benefit the local community and environment. The agreement shows that EPA and the other agencies are now on the same page on how we will move forward to clean up the site," said William C. Early, acting administrator for EPA's mid-Atlantic Region.

Fort Meade has been a permanent U.S. Army installation since 1917 which once occupied up to about 13,500 acres of land in northwestern Anne Arundel Co., Maryland, along the Little Patuxent and Patuxent Rivers, midway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Today’s agreement addresses the cleanup of numerous hazardous waste sites at the current Fort Meade Army installation and parcels previously transferred to the U.S. Architect of the Capitol and the U.S. Department of Interior/Fish and Wildlife Service.

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. Based on information currently available to the EPA, no other drinking water sources are affected by the contamination. In addition, munitions have been found throughout the former range training areas of the base, including portions of the Little Patuxent River.

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. In August 2007, EPA issued an order requiring the Army to assess the nature and extent of the contamination, and to determine and implement appropriate corrective measures, under EPA oversight.

For more information on the history and status of the cleanup, visit: http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/super/sites/MD9210020567/index.htm.

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