Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (June 8, 2005) – Following sampling in recent weeks, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) reports that varying levels of the pesticide Toxaphene has been found in an area adjacent to the Town of Centreville’s spray irrigation field. After thorough evaluation of the sampling results using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency required risk assessment procedures, independent lab results indicate the amount of chemical present is well within acceptable levels for all current and projected future land use.

“The presence of the chemical measured at this site does not pose a public health, ground or surface water threat,” said MDE Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick. “The Department’s toxicologists have assured me that this chemical binds with the soil and does not migrate into ground or surface waters.”

Although not required under environmental protection regulations, surface layers of soil will be removed as a precautionary measure in the portion of the site where the highest concentrations were measured. “By taking this action, we’re going the extra yard in safeguarding the groundwater, habitat and stream,” said Centreville Town Manager Royden Powell. “We are good stewards of our property and the environment overall.”

Ten samples including soil, surface water and sediment were collected on May 18 in and near the ravine adjacent to Three Bridges Branch, a local stream that runs through the property. The samples were analyzed for a full screen of organochlorine pesticides, but only Toxaphene was detected. The analysis was conducted at a private laboratory using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency protocols.

On May 13, MDE and town officials were alerted to the discovery of 12 discarded pesticide containers in the ravine, several of which were labeled Toxpahene. The containers were rusted through and estimated to have been on site for about 15 years. Members of MDE’s Emergency Response Division removed the containers and brought them to Baltimore for proper disposal.