BALTIMORE, MD (April 24, 2007) – “The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is making it a priority to ensure transparency in efforts to protect public health and the environment. On April 3, Honeywell provided MDE and the City of Baltimore with soil sampling data from Swann Park that MDE did not previously have in its records. MDE then required additional sampling at the site. On April 19, MDE issued a letter advising the City Health Commissioner about the recent soil sampling results that indicated arsenic levels above the standard for residential properties that resulted in closing Swann Park until further notice.
Based on the sampling results, MDE today ordered a comprehensive environmental investigation that will require additional soil and groundwater sampling and cleanup at Swann Park. The Health Commissioner has already called upon the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to determine if any additional follow-up actions and medical evaluations may be necessary. Arsenic is a naturally occurring metal-like element historically used to control insects, weeds, mold, bacteria, termites and rodents.
MDE has also negotiated and signed a Consent Order requiring a complete environmental assessment and cleanup of the adjacent former Allied Chemical Race Street site that requires a full investigation of off-site migration of contaminants. The full investigation and cleanup is expected to be complete within five years. The Order protects public health and the environment by requiring timely action to address the presence and potential releases of contaminants from the property, which include chromium, arsenic and other chemicals historically processed at the site. The Order requires a full site characterization work plan for soil and groundwater and a near shore investigation within 120 days. Upon MDE’s approval, the parties must then submit within 120 days an assessment of onsite conditions and a plan to implement interim corrective measures. Within 60 days of MDE approving the interim measures, the parties must submit a plan identifying final cleanup measures based on an examination of a full range of options using advanced environmental technologies. Honeywell has signed the Consent Order. The City of Baltimore is expected to sign soon.
The Race Street site was initially cleaned up in the 1980s by capping the property to prevent exposure to contaminants. Subsequent inspections and reports revealed, beginning in the 1990s, that the integrity of the cap was impaired and repairs and other efforts to address those issues have been undertaken. In 2003, the cap was repaired to its current state and it became apparent that a broader investigation and permanent remedy was required. The Consent Order referenced above will implement this requirement. For more details, including copies of the MDE Orders and a chronology of events, please visit www.mde.state.md.us.
While it is anticipated that this is a unique situation, MDE will also be reviewing known contaminated sites adjacent to public or residential land uses in Baltimore City to determine whether any other sites may require any further investigation.”