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Ruth Podems, (215) 814-5540
Anne Arundel County, Md - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took the Tipton Airfield off its Superfund roster today, removing the property from the national list of most hazardous waste sites. The airfield is located at Ft. George G. Meade, a Department of Defense property.
At a ceremony this afternoon, the agency marked the completion of the cleanup and formal opening of the airfield by Anne Arundel County as a general aviation facility. EPA officials were joined by representatives from the State of Maryland, Anne Arundel Co., and the Department of Defense. This airport will complement Baltimore Washington International Airport to provide much needed additional business and commercial aviation space.
"Tipton is an example of how the EPA can address specific portions of a Superfund site faster than others, allowing for quicker reuse of formerly contaminated properties," said W. Michael McCabe, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.
Anne Arundel County Executive, Janet S. Owens, expressed her delight at the success of this project. "I applaud the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Army Corp of Engineers in working together for the benefit of our aviators and our citizens living near this airport."
"Maryland enjoys an excellent working relationship with the Department of Defense and the EPA," said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Jane Nishida. "We work together to identify and resolve complex and difficult environmental issues at these types of facilities."
Past military activities at Tipton resulted in the presence of unexploded ordinance throughout the property. In addition, groundwater and soil were investigated because the airfield also contained a fire training area, helicopter training area and three inactive landfills.
Since 1995, the Army has removed 3,000 buried ordnance items, such as shell casings, and miscellaneous debris. Two inactive landfills have been covered, one with a parking lot and the other with a cap to prevent the leaching of contaminants into the soil. The third landfills has been fenced to limit access.
Groundwater is contained on site and is restricted for any use except for environmental study. Land use restrictions include prohibition on conducting any surface or subsurface excavations digging, well drilling or other disturbances of soil, or below paved surfaces without prior approval. EPA requires continued monitoring of groundwater and land use restrictions to ensure that the remedies continue to provide adequate protection to human health and the environment.
The property will be turned over to the county before the end of the year, according to Army officials. Currently, the county operates the facility under a lease agreement.