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Former Toxic Wood Treating Site Now Clean and Ready for Reuse EPA to Remove Hollywood Site from Superfund List

Release Date: 2/4/2005
Contact Information: David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

HOLLYWOOD, Md. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it plans to remove the Southern Maryland Wood Treating site in St. Mary’s County form the Superfund list, marking an important milestone in returning this once highly toxic waste site to beneficial reuse.

Deletion from the list means that the cleanup is complete and no human health or environmental threats remain. The site has been cleaned to residential standards, meaning no restrictions will be placed on future use of the property.

Cleanup activities at the site were completed in 2003. Last November the site became the first former Superfund site in the mid-Atlantic region to be granted an official ready for reuse determination – indicating that the site is ready for reuse after the cleanup.

From 1965 to 1978, 25 acres of the 96-acre, mainly wetland property were used for wood treatment operations. The treatment process used creosote and pentachlorophenol (PCP), which contaminated soils, groundwater, and a stream adjacent to the site. The site was abandoned in the early 1980s, with processing equipment, contaminated soils, and deteriorating tanks of creosote and PCP left behind.

EPA placed the site on its National Priorities List of most toxic waste sites in 1986, making it eligible for federal cleanup funds. With intensive involvement from community stakeholders, EPA selected a cleanup technology called thermal desorption. A previous remedy calling for onsite incineration of the contaminated soils and sediments was changed due to local opposition because of perceived health concerns and high estimated costs.

Starting in 1998, EPA excavated approximately 270,000 tons of creosote and PCP-soaked soils and sediments from the site and adjacent stream. These materials were cleaned using thermal desorption, which laboratory testing confirmed was cleaning the soil to residential standards. In fall of 2000, the last load of contaminated soil was treated and backfilled into the excavated areas.

During fall of 2000, EPA regraded the site and planted a diverse mix of wildflowers and grains to re-establish the area as a wildlife habitat. Visitors have reported evidence that wildlife is returning to the site.

Now that all the immediate and long-term environmental and human health threats have been removed from the site, EPA will continue to monitor its progress. A five-year review will take place to ensure that the cleanup remedy continues to be protective.

The planned removal of the site from the list is subject to a 30-day comment period.