Petroleum spill site poses little risk, contractor says -- Gazette.Net



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The site of a decades-old petroleum spill on the Forest Glen Annex needs no further remedial action, an Army contractor told the installation’s Restoration Advisory Board Thursday.

Site 1, the first of six sites being studied by the Army, is an underground petroleum spill near Building 500 near Brookville Road. The Army hired a private contractor, Columbia-based AECOM, to determine the extent of the contamination at the site after years of cleanup efforts.

Based on its own studies, the company does not believe the site needs corrective action, AECOM project manager Mike Ervine said at the RAB meeting. The company does not believe the site poses a risk to the public or to employees, and will ask the Maryland Department of the Environment to close the case.

Fort Detrick, a military installation in Frederick, assumed control of the Forest Glen and Glen Haven areas, totalling 147 acres, in October 2008. They are now working to analyze and potentially clean up six identified sites on the property — a petroleum release site, three landfills, a washdown rack area and a carcinogen contamination site — left by their predecessor, Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

AECOM believes the oil used for heating purposes at Site 1 was first released from at least one of 14 underground storage tanks. The leak was discovered in 1988. In December 1992, a 12,000-gallon tank near Building 500 was removed and about 5,000 gallons of petroleum were pumped from the site, according to an Army fact sheet. Two more 50,000-gallon tanks near Building 500 were removed in January 1993 because they failed MDE’s tank tightness testing, the Army said.

In 1994, five recovery wells were dug and a system was installed that pumps groundwater and extracts oil using carbon, the Army said. Between 2001 and 2002, a soil gas survey was taken for Building 512 for contamination and recovered 4,000 gallons of petroleum from groundwater, the Army said.

MDE has seven risk factors that are taken into account to determine what kind of corrective action, if any, should be taken at a spill site. The seven factors include: liquid contaminants, current and future use of the impacted groundwater, migration of the contaminants, human exposure, environmental exposure, impact to utilities and other buried services and other sensitive receptors such as surface water and historic structures.

After testing and analyzing the samples, Ervine said he and his team were able to determine the extent and perimeter of the contamination between Buildings 500 and 512 on the installation. Some of the chemicals exceeded the standards set forth by state and federal agencies. Ervine’s team did not think those contaminants were a risk because they have not “significantly migrated” from the source and does not pose enough of a risk to take action.

The RAB — comprised of representatives from the Army, the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency, local government officials and community members — was formed as a public forum for residents and stakeholders to voice concerns about the six identified sites.

RAB co-chair Don Hall, of Silver Spring, said the proposed site closure is adequate.

“It sounds like it’s pretty stable,” Hall said of the petroleum spill.

Ervine expects a response from MDE regarding their request for site closure in about three months.

scarignan@gazette.net, krose@gazette.net