2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 08:58:50 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Army blocks Aberdeen treatment plan
The Army appears to be backing out of a treatment plan at the Aberdeen
Proving Ground, in Maryland, on grounds that raise an interesting policy
question: Should remedies be delayed until hazard pathways are
completed, creating a public health emergency?

According to the Aberdeen Proving Ground Superfund Citizens Coalition
(APGSCC), a plume of Army-released solvent (TCE) is moving through the
aquifer supplying water to Harford County. Two wells are already
contaminated, so the Army constructed and is operating a well-head
treatment plant for those two wells - as an interim emergency measure.

Samples at monitoring wells show tht both TCE and explosive chemicals
are migrating toward other Harford County drinking water wells. The
regulatory agencies, restoration advisory board, and county worked with
the Army to develop a remedy: the expansion and relocation of the
wellhead treatment facility to protect all threatened water supply

According to APGSCC, a draft Record of Decision incorporating that
proposal was sent to the Army in May, 1999, but "The Army's lawyers have
indicated that they believe the relocation and expansion of the treatmen
plant is not warranted, because there have been no measurable detections
of TCE in the untreated wells."

If the APGSCC account is correct, then the Army position is
indefensible. Why conduct complex groundwater characterization
activities if you can't implement a remedy until a new emergency -
additional contamination of public drinking water supplies - emerges! I
could see building the proposed treatment unit but waiting to turn it
on, but it sounds like the Army is letting lawyers make too many
technical decisions.

Lenny Siegel


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 222B View St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/968-1126

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