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Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard Proposed for Superfund Hazardous Site List

Release Date: 9/13/2001
Contact Information: David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548 & Artencia Johnson, 215) 814-5754

David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548 & Artencia Johnson, 215) 814-5754

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed to add the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard facility near Baltimore, Md. to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous waste sites.

Elsewhere in the mid-Atlantic region, EPA also proposed to add the Franklin Slag Pile (MDC) site in Philadelphia, Pa., and finalized the addition of the Valmont TCE site near Hazleton, Pa. and the Watson Johnson Landfill near Quakertown, Pa. Nationwide, EPA is adding 17 sites to the NPL and proposing to add another 11 sites.

The NPL is a national list of sites where contaminants have impacted or might impact public health or the environment. NPL sites undergo a thorough investigation of the nature and extent of the contamination, in order to determine what actions should be taken to address any risks they might pose. At the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard, the U.S. Coast Guard has the lead role in investigating and cleaning up the site.

The Yard is a century-old, 113-acre facility located on the east side of Curtis Creek, south of Hawkins Point Road. It is situated in northern Anne Arundel County, six miles southeast of downtown Baltimore. The facility currently provides core industrial support for the U.S. Coast Guard, including the design, construction, and repair of ships and boats. Previously, the Yard was a fully operational shipbuilding facility, with its peak use during World War II, when over 3000 employees worked round-the-clock on Coast Guard and Navy ships.

The Coast Guard has investigated environmental conditions at the Yard over the past ten years, leading to EPA’s decision to propose the site to the NPL. These investigations have identified several areas of concern, with low levels of contaminants such as metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, and dioxins. VOCs and SVOCs are chemicals found in solvents and degreasers. PCBs are used for insulating electrical equipment. The contamination extends to the sediments of Curtis Creek below the Yard’s dry docks, where ships have been repaired and renovated for many decades.

The contamination at the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard is the result of operational practices from the first half of the twentieth century, which have long since ceased. In August 2000, the Yard attained global ISO 14001 certification for quality management of environmental systems. Such certification makes the Yard accountable to its business methods, which assure a healthy environment for its employees, the local community, and the shipyard’s neighboring natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay.

The proposal to add the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard to the NPL begins a 60-day public comment period, during which time the public may provide comments or additional information about the site. EPA will then respond to the public’s input, and if there are no errors in the proposal, the site will be added to the list. The public comment period begins September 13 and ends November 13. Public comments must be submitted in writing, including an original plus three copies, to: Docket Coordinator, U.S. EPA Headquarters, CERCLA Docket Office, Mail Code 5201G, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460.

Documents related to the NPL proposal may be reviewed at the North County Area Library (Anne Arundel County Library System), located at 1010 Eastway in Glen Burnie, Md. The proposal documents are also available for review at the EPA Region III Superfund Docket in Philadelphia. For additional information, please contact the Region III Docket at (215) 814-5364. Some proposal documents are also available on the Internet at

EPA and the Coast Guard will hold a public meeting about the proposal to add the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard to the NPL on Tuesday, October 2 at 7:00 pm, at the Orchard Beach Volunteer Fire Department hall, located at 7549 Solley Rd. in Glen Burnie. For more information about this meeting, please contact Artencia Johnson, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator, at (215) 814-5754, or Dottie Mitchell, Coast Guard Yard Public Affairs Officer, at (410) 636-7238.