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Environmental Officials Brief Maryland Congressionals on Brownfields Progress
Release Date: 6/7/1999
Contact Information: Ruth Podems, (215) 814-5540
THE CAPITOL -- Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency briefed the Maryland Congressional staff Friday on the progress of the Brownfields redevelopment program, and other Superfund hazardous waste issues throughout the state.
"Annual Superfund briefings provide vital timely and accurate information from which congressional staffs can develop policy recommendations and stay current on this critical work in their states," said W. Michael McCabe, EPA’s Regional Administrator. "This year’s briefing showcased the Brownfields program in Maryland which is putting abandoned, industrial properties back into productive use."
EPA representatives told congressional staff members from the offices of Senator Paul S. Sarbanes, Senator Barbara S. Mikulski, Representative Benjamin L. Cardin, and Representative Constance A. Morrella that through the agency’s Brownfields program, 10 federal Superfund sites in Maryland are being used or are planned for reuse to benefit their communities. Some of those sites include:
American Can Factory, Baltimore City -- this site has been developed into a mixed-use facility featuring modern retail and office space. A public/private partnership and state incentives are helping with this redevelopment which could create 800 jobs when the space is fully occupied.
Bush Valley Landfill, Harford County -- this site will be capped and planted with grasses and wildflowers to provide habitat for wildlife and a buffer for the adjacent Bush Declaration Natural Resources Management Area.
Kane & Lombard, Baltimore County -- a golf driving range recently opened for business here following a settlement of liability concerns.
Mid-Atlantic Wood Preservers, Inc., Anne Arundel County -- an adjacent business owneracquired this paved site to use for parking; the former wood treatment building is used as a repair shop.
In addition to redeveloping specific sites, the EPA gives Brownfield Pilot grants to cities to identify and assess the brownfields located within their limits. Through a $400,000 grant, EPA helped Baltimore identify more than 300 vacant lots throughout the city and create a $3 million revolving loan program for revitalization projects in the federal empowerment zone. In Hagerstown, a $200,000 grant is helping to spur the redevelopment of old railroad properties.
Communities that are home to federal facilities are reaping the benefits of the Brownfields program in Maryland, with portions of these huge properties being cleaned up and transformed for civilian purposes. Ft. George G. Meade in Anne Arundel County is reusing the Tipton Army Air Field to relieve some of the heavy air traffic from Baltimore/Washington International Airport. Another portion of the site is home to the EPA’s new science center where environmental analysis of water, soil and air samples will be done in 70 laboratories. A Department of Interior wildlife refuge will occupy another area of the fort.
The Naval Center Bainbridge in Cecil County will soon be transferred to the Maryland Economic Development Corporation and the Naval Surface Warfare Center in White Oak, Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties is being reused as a U.S. Food and Drug Administration complex.
EPA’s Region III office has become a nationwide leader in training emergency personnel to handle terrorist threats from toxic chemicals, disease organisms, and radiation. More than 11,000 firefighters, paramedics, hospital and emergency workers, military personnel and police officers have been trained so far, many in the states of Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania. The counter terrorism program will provide training to 120 of the largest U.S. cities by 2002.
Finally, the Congressional staff learned about the progress of the 21 Superfund cleanups in Maryland, with three sites completely cleaned up, eight sites undergoind cleanup and six sites which have had emergency cleanups take place. The remaining sites have final cleanup plans in place.
At the Galaxy/Spectron site in Cecil County, neighbors endured a foul-smelling solvent recycler that contaminated the nearby creek and groundwater. A new containment system keeps the highly toxic groundwater from entering the creek. An onsite treatment plant will be constructed this fall. At the Southern Maryland Wood Treating Site in St. Mary’s County, more than 95,000 tons of contaminated soil has been successfully treated and the clean soil is backfilled onto the site. Cleanup is expected to be complete by 2000.