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Fort Detrick Site Proposed for Superfund List

Release Date: 09/03/2008
Contact Information: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567 seneca.roy@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (September 3, 2008) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed the addition of the Fort Detrick Area B Ground Water Site in Frederick, Md. to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).

The national priorities list is a national list of sites where hazardous contaminants could impact public health and/or the environment. NPL sites undergo a thorough investigation to determine the full nature and extent of contamination. EPA or the parties responsible for the contamination then address whatever risks the sites pose to human health and the environment.

Once a site has been proposed for inclusion to the NPL, there is a 60-day comment period. A final decision on listing sites will be made after EPA has evaluated and responded to all the public comments in writing. Nationwide, EPA is proposing to add 11 sites to the Superfund list.

The parcel of land known as Fort Detrick Area Ground Water Area B is part of an active U.S. Army installation operated under the Army Medical Command. The site was used as a disposal area for chemical, biological, and radiological material from the 1940s until 1970. Wastes disposed at the site released trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachloroethene (PCE) into the ground water, contaminating residential drinking water wells. There is the potential that the groundwater contamination could spread to areas that could affect the more densely populated areas in Frederick.

Although the majority of the affected homes have been connected to public water supplies, Fort Detrick continues to provide bottled water to five residences. The state of Maryland referred the site to EPA because it believes a long-term solution is needed to protect drinking water sources. For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for this and other proposed sites, please visit http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm