Benzene fumes that leaked into the basement of a Manchester house last Monday were found to be many times over the safe limit set by OSHA, said John Goheen, spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment.
Mr. Goheen said the occupants have been unable to live in their home in the 3400 block of View Ridge Circle since the smell became overpowering in the basement of the house.
High levels of benzene, which Charles J. Ehrenfeld Jr. and his wife had been smelling for several weeks, were discovered leaking from a crack between the foundation and the floor of the 14-year-old house.
The toxic fumes measured 30 to 50 parts per million inside the basement and 200 to 300 parts per million outside the house in a drilled test hole six feet below the surface.
A safe limit is one part per million over an eight-hour period, Mr. Goheen said.
Lineboro Fire Chief John L. Krebs said the toxic fumes are dangerous if a person breathes too much of them.
The spokesman for the Department of the Environment said that at this time officials do not know the source of the benzene but that household solvents and various fuels can give off the same odor.
None of the other houses built in the development at the same time has been affected by the leak according to officials.
Manchester crab house enters truck in contest
Captain Bob's Crab House of Manchester will be competing in the third "Crabbiest Crab Truck" competition tomorrow during Chesapeake Appreciation Days at Sandy Point State Park in Anne Arundel County.
The annual event salutes the best in crab truck folk art found on Maryland's seafood delivery trucks. The purpose of the contest is to recognize the unique art form and highlight the state's vital ,, seafood industry.
The trucks will be on display from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Judging begins at noon and winners will be announced at 2 p.m. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners.
Captain Bob's Crab House, 2912 Hanover Pike, has entered the "Best Chesapeake Bay Scene" competition.