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EPA Begins Removal of Elkton Farm Contamination

Release Date: 01/31/2006
Contact Information: David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

ELKTON, Md. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today began removing contamination from the firehole portion of Elkton Farm in Cecil County, Md. The initial phase of the cleanup will focus on the investigation and removal of unexploded munitions from surface soils at the site.

Likely contaminants at the site include TNT and other munitions of explosive concern dating back to World War II. People would be at risk walking on the site because of the potential for creating an explosion by setting off unexploded munitions.

The initial phase of the cleanup is expected to take three to six months. The surface phase of the cleanup will focus on the top six to 18 inches of soils at the site. The 55-acre site will be divided into 100 foot by 100 foot square boxes. The boxes will be divided into five-foot wide sweep lanes. Each lane will be swept with a magnetometer, a machine that identifies metallic anomalies in soil. All metals will be investigated for explosive potential and logged into a database. Potentially explosive items will be staged for appropriate treatment (controlled detonation). Non-explosive material will be shredded.

The second phase of the cleanup, involving the removal of wastes buried onsite, will begin later this year.

The Elkton Farm Firehole Site is located on Zielter Road two miles northwest of Elkton, Md. The site consists of an open field which has been primarily used for agriculture. During a brief period of World War II, Triumph Industries, which manufactured military munitions, used a portion of the field for burning and disposing of waste explosives.

While the contamination has been at the site for more than 50 years, no site related deaths or injuries have been reported.