Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (September 29, 2005) – The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) today issued two administrative complaints and orders to address unauthorized storage of several thousand gauges containing hazardous radioactive materials (radium-226) at a site in Salisbury and another site in Princess Anne.

“MDE issued the orders to all known owners of the gauges and the properties to prevent any more shipment of gauges from the sites and to investigate the extent of radiation contamination,” said MDE Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick. “The orders provide public health protection to contain the hazardous materials while ownership and liability issues are sorted out.”

MDE issued two separate orders for violations of state law governing the possession and storage of radium-226. One order was filed against Chesapeake Airways Services, White’s Aircraft Parts and Wicomico Regional Airport as owners of the property/assets located at 5585 Airport Road in Salisbury. The site is approximately 5 acres and contains two warehouses of vintage World War II aircraft parts. The other order was filed against Chesapeake Airways and Bountiful Ridge Properties, LLC as owners of the property/assets located at 10848 Kemps Nursery Road in Princess Anne. The Princess Anne site is approximately 6.3 acres with a warehouse containing vintage World War II aircraft parts.

Radium-266 is a naturally occurring radioactive material that requires approval and issuance of a radioactive material license prior to its use or storage. Inhalation or ingestion of radium-226 may result in an increase in probability of cancer and acute health effects. MDE will not approve a license request to store such radioactive material in lieu of its safe disposal.

The administrative complaints and orders require site security, prohibit transfer of materials or access to the site, and require the owners/operators of the site to submit to MDE within 60 days a plan to address removal of the gauges and any residual radiation contamination.

At the request of the Wicomico Regional Airport Commission, MDE attended a meeting on Monday, September 26. MDE presented to the airport commission the facts regarding the matter and the agency's intent to take action to secure the sites, prohibit the transfer of material off site and protect public health and safety.