Press Release

BALTIMORE (Jan. 3, 2000) - The Maryland Department of the Environment will begin tomorrow to remove underground storage tanks at the intersection of Route 550 and 26 in Libertytown, Frederick County. The tanks - located on the site of a former store -- are suspected to be the source of the gasoline contamination discovered in September in several area wells.

Since MDE began its investigation of the well contamination in September, more than 100 water samples have been taken and analyzed. To date, gasoline contamination has been identified in wells at seven homes near the intersection and activated carbon water treatment systems have been installed at those residences. Homes with uncontaminated wells located near those residences with contaminated wells are being monitored.

Additional well sampling was conducted outside the target area at churches, the fire department and at Liberty Elementary School. The only well contamination discovered outside the immediate area of the intersection was at the elementary school where low levels of the gasoline additive MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) were found in one of the school’s two wells. Frederick County is providing bottled water to the school. Department officials believe that it is possible that the source of the school well contamination may be different than the problems with town wells and are continuing to investigate all possible sources.

MDE has directed one of its contractors, ENSAT of Jessup, to remove the underground storage tanks, beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday, weather permitting. Sections of Routes 26 and 550 will be partially closed during the removal work, which is expected to last several weeks.

MDE will hold a public meeting on the Libertytown contamination in late January or early February to discuss the department’s findings.