2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 2 May 2003 15:32:20 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Cleaning up what lies beneath
Cleaning up what lies beneath
by Robert Schroeder
Staff Writer

May 1, 2003
Bill Ryan/The Gazette

The tent, enormous and white, looks like a prop from a vintage horror
movie: "The Blob," perhaps, or something that came to eat the human

It's 215 feet long, 96 feet wide and about 40 feet high, and stands out
like a giant white caterpillar snaking malignantly across the bucolic
fields of Fort Detrick's Area B-11.

But the really scary part is what lies beneath.

Decomposing drums. Vials full of live bacteria with names such as
Klebsiella pneumoniae and Eschericia coli. Gas-filled bottles. Syringes.

Your basic harmful chemical and medical waste.

How bad is this stuff? Put it this way, says Clint Kneten, who is
managing cleanup at the site for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
"You're dealing with the most dangerous things you can possibly deal
with." Kneten says this somberly from behind wrap-around sunglasses.

And now, they're getting rid of it. Lots of it.

About a week and a half from today, Army engineers and contractors will
begin excavating, separating, pulverizing and purifying ground from the
second of four pits on a third-of-an-acre-sized patch of land -- a patch
of land that local officials say shouldn't have been contaminated in the
first place.

"This is a 50-year-old mistake that they're trying to correct now,"
Mayor Jennifer P. Dougherty (D) said on a recent visit to the site for
state, local and congressional officials. "Fifty years ago, people never
thought landfill areas would be in the city limits."

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