2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: cbaie001@umaryland.edu
Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 09:34:01 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Army blocks Aberdeen Treatment Plan


As one of the TAG consultants working with   APGSCC, I thought I would
try to answer some of your questions.  But first, let me reiterate some of
the important points in this matter.

After detecting TCE in two Harford County drinking water wells that are
located on the base, the Army installed a small-scale treatment plant as an
emergency measure while the extent of the problem was characterized. After
years of sampling and modeling, it was determined that in order to protect
the rest of the wells (specifically, three that are off-post), the plant
needed to be expanded so that all of the wells (including three that are
off-post) could be treated.  This would guarantee the safety of the water
supply.  Relocating the plant makes this cheaper and easier to do, in part,
because there are reailroad tracks along the base boundary.

This solution was developed by the coordinated efforts of Aberdeen Proving
Ground, the EPA, Maryland Dept. Environment, Harford County, the RAB and
community groups.  Everyone bought into this solution.  The draft ROD was
sent to the pentagon for signatures.  They (the Department of the Army) sat
on it for 19 months and then indicated that they did not think they were
legally required to deal with this issue because to date, no TCE has been
detected in the unprotected off-post wells. They believe that the two wells
that are currently being treated are effectively capturing the TCE plume.
Now, we feel this is nonsense. 

There are many technical and legal arguments against this position.  I
will not go into all of them here, but I would like to point out that if
the two wells being treated were to go off line for ANY reason, then the
unprotected wells would be jeopardized.  It should also be noted that the
treated and untreated wells are close enough that they share a common "zone
of influence", so it is likely that the TCE has already reached the
unprotected wells, but is at present below the detection limit.

But Peter Strauss is correct, that the definition of "actual threat" is
what is being debated.  We believe that the trigger has been pulled, the
TCE is in the public water supply, and the public must be protected from
the imminant risk, rather than go through another crisis.

I hope that clarifies the issues.


Cal Baier-Anderson, PhD
University of Maryland, Program in Toxicology
100 N. Greene Street
Baltimore, Maryland, 21201

Office Phone: 410-706-1767
Office Fax: 410-706-6203

Home Office Phone: 410-535-9598
Home Office Fax: 410-535-3754

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