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EPA Recognizes U.S. Coast Guard for Efficient, Green Cleanup of Curtis Bay Yard Superfund Site

Release Date: 05/30/2013
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

BALTIMORE (May 30, 2013) - The U.S. Coast Guard has completed cleanup construction activity at the Curtis Bay Yard Superfund site in Anne Arundel County, Md., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.

EPA provided oversight of the massive 11-year cleanup project and the U.S. Coast Guard led the cleanup effort, which included excavating thousands of tons of contaminated soil and sediment while making use of innovative green practices.

“This cleanup will ensure a healthy environment for the Curtis Bay Yard and the surrounding community, and help with Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Not only did the Coast Guard work quickly and efficiently at this site, but its use of green practices proudly reflects the Coast Guard’s commitment to environmental stewardship.”

The contaminants of concern at the site included semi-volatile organic compounds, metals, polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxin.

The Coast Guard’s green remediation included recycling materials, creating green space and minimizing hazardous waste. Overall during the cleanup, 2,616 tons of concrete were recycled and about 25,000 tons of contaminated soil were treated onsite so it could be shipped to a non-hazardous waste landfill. This saved more than 500,000 truck miles and approximately
$6 million compared to sending the soil to a hazardous waste landfill. In addition, approximately 20 tons of steel were recycled.

"Eleven years ago, the Coast Guard Yard was placed on the National Priorities List to address contamination from past practices going all the way back to the Yard's start in 1899,” said Captain Richard K. Murphy, Commanding Officer, U.S. Coast Guard Yard. “This began a very productive partnership with EPA and the Maryland Department of the Environment culminating in the remediation of all identified sites. Today, the Yard is a leader in the field of environmental management, and we continue to partner with the EPA and MDE to ensure a healthy environment for the Yard, our neighbors, as well as protecting the vital ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay."

The Chesapeake Bay benefits from this cleanup in several ways. Low impact storm water designs were used to help absorb water into the ground during heavy rains instead of uncontrolled run-off with potential pollutants. These designs replace solid concrete with porous pavers and add more green space with grass, trees and shrubs.

In addition to using innovative remediation, the Coast Guard also chose to clean up the Yard to the more stringent residential cleanup standards rather than using the industrial standards. This creates more options for future use of the property.

The Coast Guard Yard, located six miles southeast of downtown Baltimore, is a 113-acre ship repair facility used to design, build and repair state-of-the-art ships and boats. The facility incorporates many sustainable manufacturing practices including creating its own electricity from landfill gas at an on-site co-generation plant. The crane electrification project further reduces the Yard’s carbon footprint.

For more information visit EPA’s website about the site cleanup: