Federal and state officials decided yesterday that thousands of gallons of deadly chemicals from the tank farm near Sharptown, Md., will be moved to a warehouse at Curtis Bay in Anne Arundel County, according to a Coast Guard spokesman.
Discovery of the chemicals sparked a controversy last month in the small Eastern Shore community of Sharptown. Yesterday's announcement of the move to Anne Arundel immediately brought opposition from officials in that county.
A Senate committee to last month ordered the Coast Guard to find a safe storage facility for the chemicals and yesterday the Coast Guard chose the Curtis Bay site as the "most appropriate for short-term storage," the spokesman said. No date has been set for the move, however.
The Coast Guard will use federal antipollution funds to move the chemicals to the warehouse at a General Services Administration depot at Curtis Bay, the spokesman said. Officials previously estimated that the move would cost at least $200,000.
Although the Coast Guard spokesman said the Curtis Bay storage would be temporary, it was unclear precisely how long the chemicals will remain there.
The GSA warehouse already contains about 70 drums of deadly chemicals moved there from Bladensburg, Md., last month without the knowledge of county officials.
"Of course, we're upset," said an aide to County Executive Robert Pascal. "We're stuck with somebody else's hazardous wastes, and legally, there's nothing we can do about it."
The Sharptown tanks contain 24,500 gallons of waste oil laced with 500 parts per million of the potent cancer-causing agent PCB, according to sampling done by the Coast Guard.