BALTIMORE, MD (March 2, 2010) – Today Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson issued the following statement about ongoing water monitoring and cleanup efforts at the site of the 2006 ExxonMobil gasoline spill in Jacksonville:
Nothing is more critical than safe drinking water, so when it comes to protecting this resource for our families, it is imperative that the facts are made clear.
Recently the Department approved discontinuing bottled water to a number of homes and to discontinuing sampling private residential drinking wells at the perimeter of the ExxonMobil Jacksonville contamination plume study area. The Department determined that all of homes affected by this decision have safe drinking water. As part of the continuing cleanup work, the contamination plume has been well-defined, is being reduced, and is being extensively monitored.
In 2008, ExxonMobil paid a $4 million civil penalty and entered into a Consent Decree that includes further penalties if the company does not adhere to the schedule for the continued, critical cleanup work.
MDE today received a request from Governor Martin O’Malley to carefully and expeditiously review the citizen’s request to reconsider the decision allowing ExxonMobil to discontinue supplying bottled water. MDE will, of course, do so. This review, and previous decisions, are reviewed by scientists with expertise in groundwater, public health, and subsurface remediation.
A high-profile lawsuit scheduled for a Fall hearing date is generating questions about the contamination, public health, water supplies, and the impact to residents. To help address Marylanders' understandable concerns, MDE continues to provide detailed updates about the Jacksonville cleanup on our website.