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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland

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In September 1991, EPA issued a Corrective Action permit to University of Maryland (UM). The permit required UM to investigate whether releases occurred from various Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs). UM conducted soil and groundwater investigations at the SWMUs. Areas identified with soil contamination were remediated as follows: (1) soil was removed from the Pesticides Wash and Diesel Fuel Tank Areas; and (2) a Diesel Fuel Tank was removed and replaced. EPA determined that other areas did not require remediation. Groundwater investigations showed some low level dioxin and methane in the three Paint Branch Landfills and the Metzerott Road Landfill. EPA concluded that the low level dioxin and methane, coupled with the low risk of human exposure, would not pose a risk to human health and the environment under current conditions. Ground water underlying the University is not used for drinking water.

Cleanup Status

In January 2007, EPA reissued the Corrective Action Permit to UM. UM completed work on all of the SWMUs, with remaining work to be completed at the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI) property located on campus. The permit requires a Corrective Measures Study (CMS) for MFRI, and also includes a Notice for Use Restriction (an institutional control) to prevent future use of groundwater beneath the former landfills (including MFRI) as a drinking water supply. EPA approved UM's CMS workplan in June 2007, and the Use Restriction was is recorded in Prince George County Land Records. Ground water monitoring for benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene, naphthalene and methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) will continue at MFRI for the natural attenuation remedy. The permit also requires EPA review for future development that requires excavation in the former landfills.

The Environmental Indicator Forms discuss that current human exposure to site contaminants is under control, and any migration of contaminated ground water is also under control.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland

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The University of Maryland at College Park is a state owned and operated higher education institution. The facility is comprised of a complex of academic and research buildings designed and used for performing the University's primary broad educational and research missions, complemented by residential, services, and support buildings.

The surrounding land use is primarily residential property on the north, south and west property lines. The area east of the campus has been developed for light industrial/commercial business and residential uses. Surface water runoff is directed toward Paint Branch Creek located on the eastern margin of the campus. A portion of the eastern section of the campus is located in the 100-year floodplain. Based on landfill area studies, groundwater depth ranges from two to 15 feet and appears to flow south. Ground water beneath the campus is not used for drinking water purposes.

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Contaminants at this Facility

Based on data from previous studies and clean-ups, any residual soil or ground water contaminants does not present a risk to human health and the environment. At the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, a limited area of petroleum related groundwater contamination has been delineated and benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene, naphthalene and methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) contaminants remain at low levels. Human exposure to contamination is prevented because most of the surface area is paved and groundwater contaminants are declining from natural processes over time.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

Institutional /Engineering Control Summary
Restrictions or Controls that Address: Yes No
Groundwater Use
Residential Use
Vapor Intrusion
Capped Area(s)
Other Engineering Controls
Other Restrictions

    The University registered a ground water use restriction with the County Land Use records, which prohibits ground water use for drinking water purposes. Also on the landfills certain activities, including but not limited to, excavation, grading, dewatering, sheeting or shoring, are prohibited without prior written approval in following areas:

    • Point Branch Landfills : Area 1A :9.74 Acres; Area 1-B: 54 Acres; Area 1-C: .9 Acres; and Area 2: 1.01 Acres;
    • Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute (MFRI - Landfill Area 3A): 10.86 Acres;
    • Metzerott Road Landfill Area - 4.35 Acres

    Also in MFRI (Landfill 3A) Area : Ground water monitoring for benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene, naphthalene and methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) will continue at MFRI for the natural attenuation remedy.

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    Land Reuse Information at this Facility

    The facility is under continued use.

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    Site Responsibility at this Facility

    Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (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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