Agreement clears way for Andrews cleanup

Cleanup of a federal Superfund site at Joint Base Andrews will proceed with oversight from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – ending a years-long stalemate over contamination at the military facility that is home to Air Force One, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin said Wednesday.

An agreement signed by the Department of Defense and the EPA lists 13 contaminated sites to be addressed at the base, formerly known as Andrews Air Force base, as well as six additional munitions sites that require investigation and cleanup, Cardin’s office said.

State and federal environmental agencies have been working on the remediation effort since the site was placed on the federal Superfund list of contaminated sites in 1999. But attempts to make the cleanup mandatory have stalled for years.

“For more than a decade, a number of Department of Defense facilities around the country refused to sign mandatory cleanup agreements with EPA, as required by the Superfund law,” the Maryland Democrat said in a statement. “With today’s agreement, all of these facilities in Maryland now have enforceable clean-up agreements in place, recognizing EPA’s role as [the] ultimate arbiter of clean-up standards," Cardin said. "That’s good news for the military personnel who work on base as well as the Prince George’s County residents who live nearby.”

Similar agreements have been signed for other military facilities in Maryland, including at Fort Meade and Fort Detrick.

Lead and other contaminants have been detected in the Piscataway Creek, which runs through the base, Cardin’s office said. Mercury, chromium and cadmium have been found on the base, which has been in operation since the 1940s. In addition to supporting regular military operations, the facility also serves as the home to Air Force One.

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