The General Services Administration announced yesterday it will move some 2,500 gallons of the deadly chemical PCB from Bladensburg storage site 12 feet from a creek to a more secure location near Baltimore.
Walter V. Kallaur, administrator of GSA's Washington regional office, said GSA also will move a similar quantity of PCB it found stored at 10 P St. SW to the same location on Curtis Bay.
Kallaur said a Washington Post story reporting GSA auditors' findings that the material was stored in leaky, rusting drums in violation of federal regulations "speeded up" GSA's timetable for moving the PCB.
"We planned to move it by Christmas," Kallaur said. "I wish we had moved more quickly on it."
The Post story said the garage where the PCB was stored became flooded during heavy rains. The nearby creek empties into the Anacostia River, which then empties into the Potomac River. The story quoted a GSA official as saying the agency had no solution for dealing with the problem.
PCB, or polychlorinated biphenyl, causes cancer in animals and attacks the immunization system of humans when inhaled. It is used by GSA and private companies for cooling transformers in buildings.Its sale for this purpose has been stopped.
Kallaur announced the planned actions at a joint press conference with Jeffrey G. Miller, acting administrator for enforcement at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Miller said an inspection of the drums at the Bladensburg site yesterday revealed no "imminent hazard." An EPA spokesman explained this meant there was no evidence that anyone had been exposed to the chemical.
Miller said EPA has not yet received the results of soil and water samples taken at the site to see if they show evidence of PCB contamination. s
He said GSA has agreed to EPA recommendations to post guards at the site, install barriers to prevent leaks, contain any leaking PCB, and remove and place in drums any rages or other debris that might have become contaminated with PCB.
The Maryland Water Resources Administration yesterday ordered GSA to take similar steps by Monday. It also ordered GSA to remove the material to a site that meets EPA storage regulations by next Friday.