Gilchrest, EPA to meet over hazardous materials


U.S. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, 1st District Republican, will meet with a representative of the federal Environmental Protection Agency tomorrow to discuss hazardous materials management at Fort Meade.

Mr. Gilchrest learned of what is happening at Fort Meade after being alerted by his constituents, said Kathy Hicks, who manages the congressman's Glen Burnie office.

Last week, the Maryland Department of the Environment imposed a $10,000 fine on the military for improper hazardous waste management. The fine cited 82 violations dating to 1989.

The penalties come two years after an EPA study found that 31 sites at the base could be contaminated with hazardous waste.

According to the Department of Environment complaint, inspections in 1989 found 100 square feet of stained soil next to five 55-gallon drums of dry cleaning solvents behind the Fabric Care facility.

Soil studies by Target Environmental Services found the soil contained perchloroethylene (PCE), a hazardous waste and substance.

In 1990, "A soil gas survey . . . confirmed the presence of both PCE and trichloroethylene," the complaint states. The highest levels of the hazardous wastes were in the vicinity of the Fabric Care facility, storm sewer and drum storage area.

Other inspections from August 1992 to April 1994 found recurring cases of improperly labeled drums of hazardous waste, improper storage of the waste, incomplete training records and poorly maintained inspection logs.

Michael Sullivan, Department of Environment spokesman, said no one has been harmed in the violations cited since 1992 and that many have been corrected. The fine was issued to keep further violations from occurring, he said.

"You have to be sure that a pattern doesn't develop," Mr. Sullivan said. "You have to make sure they're aware that it's up to us that those things are done on a consistent basis."

Don McClow, spokesman for Fort Meade, said he cannot comment on the fine or the violations until he speaks with environmental officers.

Mr. Gilchrest also will meet with Col. Robert G. Morris III, Fort Meade garrison commander, on Monday.

According to the Department of Environment, Fort Meade generates more than 1,000 kilograms of hazardous waste each month, including solvents, acids, paints, batteries, pesticides, oils and photographic chemicals.

The department also has asked Fort Meade to submit a time schedule saying when the administration will approve some means of environmental testing, including installing four monitoring wells to determine the amount of contamination at the Fabric Care facility.

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