Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 18, 2003) -- Governor Robert L. Ehrlich announced Board of Public Works approval Wednesday of a $395,950 contract to begin cleanup and redevelopment of a site in Easton’s town center.

Once fully remediated, the former Easton Coal Gasification Manufacturing Plant site will become a multi-purpose center where commercial and public services are planned.

“For many years this site has sat as a literal blight in the community,” Governor Ehrlich said. “Now we can begin the work that will put this parcel back into productive use that will lead to jobs, eliminate a potential health and environmental risk and help revitalize an historic town’s business district.”

The contract, with Subsurface Technologies Inc. of Westminster, will provide for project management and technical services in support of the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) corrective activities at the defunct facility. The contractor will provide staff and equipment for the excavation and disposal of contaminated soil; pipe excavation and cleaning, excavation and backfilling with stone and/or soil. These actions are being implemented in order to provide for the safe disposition and redevelopment of the property.

The former Easton plant is considered a state Superfund “orphan” site, meaning there is no financially viable responsible party to pay for a site’s remediation efforts and do not qualify under the Federal Superfund Program. Under Maryland law, orphan sites become the responsibility of the state to investigate and remediate.

Shallow and deep soils at the site contain waste materials from the production of natural gas using coal and other additives. The waste material from this type of operation is collectively referred to as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH). PAHs are known to be carcinogenic to humans as a result of direct contact or ingestion, posing an immediate or substantial threat to public health and the environment.