Fort Detrick to clean up contaminated Area B

Officials at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, have signed an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense outlining how to clean up the groundwater contamination located in Area B.

Area B was added to the EPA’s National Priorities List in 2008. The list is a collection of the country’s most contaminated land that is in immediate need of remediation, the Frederick News-Post reports.

The clean-up falls under the recently signed Federal Facilities Agreement, which is a required pact for any federal land that has been placed on the National Priorities list. It is a legally enforceable document that details roles, responsibilities and timeline for the departments involved.

The agreement includes a history of Area B and the contamination, which includes chemical and biological warfare testing in the 1960s and the discovery in 1992 of high levels of carcinogens in a nearby water well, the Frederick News-Post reports. The document also details the steps needed to examine and cleanup the contamination.

The EPA can fine the Army if it fails to comply with the timeline, which includes $5,000 for the first week and $10,000 a week for additional weeks.

Chuck Gordon, a Spokesman for Fort Detrick, told the Frederic News-Post that the Army is glad to see an agreement reached and wants to move forward with the environmental cleanup.