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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Former Appliance Park East (General Electric Company) in Columbia, Maryland

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In 1991, EPA issued a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action Permit (Permit) requiring General Electric (GE) to address any contamination present at the Columbia site. Multiple Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) and Areas of Concern (AOCs) were identified by the 1991 Permit and have been addressed. Of all of the SWMUs and AOCs addressed under the Permit, corrective action is on-going at only four units. In October 2012, EPA renewed GE’s Permit that included a site-wide remedy addressing remaining onsite contamination.

Cleanup Status

GE submitted a Corrective Measures Study (CMS) Report in August 2008 that reported on an evaluation of technologies to cleanup site contamination. EPA approved the CMS in 2010 and accepted previously implemented Interim Measures, including enhancements, as the remedy for the site. Based on the CMS results and the Administrative Record, the final remedy for the Facility was developed and was described in a Final Decision and Response to Comments. The 2012 Permit is EPA’s enforcement mechanism implementing the final remedy.

The final remedy for the Facility consists of active remediation consisting of Pump and Treatment and Soil Vapor Extraction, long term groundwater monitoring of CMS Units Two, Four, Seven, and RFI Unit Six, and Institutional Controls (ICs). Under EPA’s remedy some concentrations of contaminants remain in the groundwater and/or soil above levels appropriate for residential and domestic uses. While the Permit prevents the use of groundwater and contaminated soil, ICs are non-engineered mechanisms such as administrative and/or legal controls that minimize the potential for human exposure to contamination and/or protect the integrity of a remedy and provide an additional level of environmental protection. ICs will be implemented in order to restrict use of the Facility property and groundwater to prevent exposure to contaminants while the contaminants remain in place. GE will continue to submit semi-annual Reports to EPA and Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) documenting the progress of the remedy.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of Former Appliance Park East, Columbia, Maryland


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The former Appliance Park East manufacturing facility was constructed in 1969 and 1970 on 1,125 acres of land purchased by GE from Howard Research and Development (HRD). From 1970 to 1990 GE manufactured household appliances, primarily electric ranges and ovens. GE's operations at the Facility consisted of the fabrication, finishing and final assembly of metal components. Fabrication involved metal cutting, pressing and welding. Finishing involved metal cleaning, electroplating, and the application of paint finishes. Of the 1,125 acres owned by GE, 440 acres were covered by the RCRA Corrective Action Permit issued by EPA in 1991.

GE discontinued operations in 1990 and sold the majority of the facility to Howard Research and Development Corporation (HRD) for redevelopment. GE retained ownership of 21 acres where three closed landfills are located. Redevelopment of the site includes, reuse of the original manufacturing buildings by new businesses, construction of a new retail strip mall, restaurants, a multiplex movie theater, residential town homes, and a corporate office park.

To update the community on the cleanup progress, GE maintains a mailing list for all interested parties and issues fact sheets as needed. The last public meeting regarding the site was held in 1997 and comments were solicited regarding the on-going corrective action activities.

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Contaminants at this Facility

The main contaminant in soil and groundwater is the organic solvent, trichloroethylene that is mainly found in the soil beneath the former manufacturing building and in the ground water beneath and down gradient of the building. Other contaminants found in ground water include diesel fuel and gasoline. GE cleaned up the gasoline in the 1990's and continues to monitor ground water in the area. GE cleaned up the diesel fuel contamination under the direction of the Maryland Department of the Environment Oil Control Program.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

Institutional controls will restrict land use to non-residential and prohibit the use of groundwater as a source of potable water.

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

With controls
The EPA has determined that this facility is ready for its current and anticipated use with some activities and use restrictions and that the mechanism implementing those restrictions is in place.
 

GE discontinued operations in 1990 and sold the majority of the facility to Howard Research and Development Corporation (HRD) for redevelopment. GE retained ownership of 21 acres where three closed landfills are located. Redevelopment of the site includes, reuse of the original manufacturing buildings by new businesses, construction of a new retail strip mall, restaurants, a multiplex movie theater, residential town homes, and a corporate office park.

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Site Responsibility at this Facility

RCRA Corrective Action activities at this facility are being conducted under the direction of the EPA Region 3 with assistance from Maryland Department of the Environment.

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