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EPA, DoD finalize agreement to clean up Fort Detrick

Release Date: 12/17/2010
Contact Information: Contact: Bonnie Smith, smith.bonnie@epa.gov, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA (December 17, 2010) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has signed an inter-agency agreement with the Department of Defense to remediate the Fort Detrick Area B Groundwater Superfund Site in Frederick, Md.

In 2009, EPA listed Ft. Detrick Area B Groundwater on the Superfund National Priorities List, which required EPA and DoD to sign a federal facility agreement governing the cleanup. Under the Superfund law, the agreement grants EPA final authority over cleanup decisions.

“Today’s agreement is a significant milestone that will benefit the local community and environment. The agreement outlines the way that EPA and the Department of Defense will work together to assess and clean up the site,” said Shawn M. Garvin, Regional Administrator for EPA's mid-Atlantic Region.

The parcel of land known as Fort Detrick Area B is part of an active U.S. Army installation operated under the Army Medical Command. The site was used as a testing and 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 groundwater, contaminating residential drinking water wells. There is the potential that the groundwater contamination could spread to affect the more densely populated areas in Frederick.

Although cleanup activities have been on-going, the federal facility agreement ensures that cleanup actions proceed with EPA oversight within an enforceable framework, in a manner that protects the community and the environment. The agreement also gives the EPA and the Army the framework for investigating new and evolving contamination issues at Area B.

The areas of concern at Ft. Detrick include 13 contaminated sites in Area B. Contaminated groundwater that has migrated from Area B will also be addressed, including characterization of the complex karst geology that underlies Area B. For more information on the history and status of the cleanup, visit: http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/super/sites/MDD985397249/index.htm