A temporary airtight enclosure has been erected at the Dundalk Marine Terminal in preparation for the removal of hazardous chemicals taken in January from the freighter Santa Clara I after it lost 441 barrels of poisonous arsenic trioxide at sea in a violent storm.
The material is concentrated liquid magnesium phosphide, an ingredient of fumigants used to control pests in warehouses and rail cars. Four 55-gallon drums of the material appeared to be damaged when the ship reached port after the storm. They have been kept under 24-hour security, sealed in large plastic containers on an isolated parking lot.
"It's a very volatile material," said John Goheen, spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment. "We don't anticipate any problems as long as it is handled in an environment that is airtight and has very low humidity."
State and federal officials are overseeing repackaging of the chemical in required 1-gallon containers and its shipment to a disposal facility in Arkansas.