An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Hazardous Waste Cleanup: P and R Rail Car Service Corporation (GE Railcar) in Elkton, Maryland

On this page:

The Site was used as a freight railcar repair, maintenance and cleaning facility beginning in 1976. In 1986, General Electric Railcar (GE Railcar) acquired the property and continued railcar operations until 1987. The property has been unused since 1988.  GE began remediation and closure activities at the property under Maryland permits. GE remediated and closed waste tanks and a drum storage area. In 1991, contaminated soil from a former still bottoms dump area was removed from the northeast corner of the property. The dump area was capped with clean clay. EPA requested more information about contamination at the Site, and GE submitted a Site Investigation Workplan in 2002. EPA approved the Workplan and subsequent Site Investigation Report. Subsequent investigations characterized on and off-site contamination.

Cleanup Status

Investigations identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in on-site surface and subsurface soil and groundwater and off-site areas in groundwater and subsurface vapor in discrete areas.

Benzene and chlorinated VOC solvents such as chlorobenzene, tetrachloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE) and 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane (TeCA) were found in ground water (GW) at levels above drinking water standards (MCLs) on and off-site. In on-site soil, there is limited surface and subsurface soil contamination (chlorinated solvents, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), mercury and benzo(a)pyrene) in some areas.

On September 12, 2007, GE and EPA signed an EPA Administrative Order under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) authorities, ordering GE Railcar to conduct a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS). EPA approved the RI/FS Workplan in June 2008. Field work commenced in 2008 to address the data gaps of previous investigations. The RI Report (2009) was approved by EPA. The FS was then submitted to EPA and also approved. EPA approved final remedies for on-site soil, groundwater and potential vapor intrusion and for off-site groundwater. EPA’s remedy decision followed the public comment period.  The groundwater remedy consists of monitored natural attenuation of dissolved benzene and chlorinated solvents (VOCs), and for on-site soil and potential vapor intrusion, human exposure to site contaminants will be managed through site controls.

EPA's Environmental Indicator Forms show that current human exposure to site contaminants is under control, and migration of contaminated ground water is also under control.

On February 25, 2020,  the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected the Final Remedy for RCRA Corrective Action for the former GE Railcar property (Facility) in Elkton, Maryland. EPA's Final Remedy consists of: (1) natural attenuation of volatile organic compounds in on- and off-site groundwater, and (2) land and groundwater use restrictions on the property. The Final Remedy is based on EPA 's findings as detailed in the Statement of Basis (SB). 

    Top of Page

    Site Description

    Interactive Map of P and R Rail Car Service Corporation (GE Railcar), Elkton, Maryland

    View larger map

    Railcar repair and maintenance operations began at the Facility in 1976 when P&R Railcar Service Corporation purchased the property. North American Car Corporation acquired the property in 1979 and added railcar cleaning to the previous operations. In 1986, Quality Service Repair Corporation acquired the Facility and name changed to GE Railcar Repair Services in early 1987 and continued the previous railcar operations until operations shut down permanently in September 1987. GE performed various investigations and unit closure activities under Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) direction prior to EPA’s involvement. 

    Top of Page

    Contaminants at this Facility

    Benzene and chlorinated solvents such as chlorobenzene, trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane (TeCA) were found in ground water at levels above drinking water standards (MCLs). There is limited surface and subsurface soil contamination (chlorinated solvents, PCB, mercury and benzo(a)pyrene) in some on-site areas.

    Top of Page

    Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

    The Final Remedy includes land and groundwater use restrictions.

    Top of Page

    Land Reuse Information at this Facility

    The site is inactive and is situated in an actively used Industrial Park.  The site is currently owned by Transport Pool Corporation (formerly GE Railcar Services Corporation).

    Top of Page

    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 DEP.

    Top of Page