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County Executive John R. Leopold Asks the EPA to Investigate Consolidated Pharmaceuticals
Annapolis (October 12, 2007) - County Executive John R. Leopold has asked the Environmental Protection Agency to promptly conduct an investigation of the hazardous materials at Consolidated Pharmaceuticals at 6110 Robinwood Road in Brooklyn Park.
“The facility has a long history of non-compliance with hazardous waste and Community-Right-to-Know reporting requirements and the Anne Arundel County Fire Department is concerned that there are unknown quantities of both dry and liquid chemicals stored in open containers throughout the site,” Mr. Leopold said.
“On the advice of the County Fire Department, I am taking this proactive initiative to eliminate the risk to area residents of a potentially catastrophic fire,” Mr. Leopold added.
Chief David Stokes of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said, “I appreciate Mr. Leopold's desire to address the hazards at Consolidated Pharmaceuticals. I am concerned that this facility has the potential to pose significant health risks to the citizens of surrounding communities and the firefighters of Anne Arundel County."
The following is the text of the letter, in its entirety, to Greg Ham of the EPA:
October 8, 2007
Mr. Greg Ham
Dear Mr. Ham:
Consolidated Pharmaceuticals at 6110 Robinwood Road, Brooklyn Park, Anne Arundel County, Maryland presents several fire and environmental risks to the surrounding community. The facility has a long history of non-compliance with hazardous waste and Community-Right-to-Know reporting requirements. The Maryland Department of the Environment is pursuing administrative action against the owner/operator of the plant. However, the hazardous conditions at the site require attention prior to the settlement of hazardous waste violations.
The Anne Arundel County Fire Department is concerned that there are unknown quantities of both dry and liquid chemicals stored in open containers throughout the site. The plumbing to many of the containers has not been maintained over the past several years and is beginning to leak. The entire site is poorly maintained. I am writing to respectfully request that the EPA promptly conduct an assessment of the site to determine the extent of the hazmat hazards, provide the fire department with an overview of the chemical hazards present and order the removal/disposal of any chemical hazards.
The County’s hazardous material team inspected the site and noted significant emergency management concerns. There is a high probability that a fire of any size will quickly escalate as the result of compromised fixed fire suppression and detection equipment and measurable flammable and toxic vapors. The fire alarm system is out of service. In addition, the east warehouse containing ordinary combustibles stacked to the roof in high rack storage does not have a sprinkler system. The west section has sprinklers; however, the fire department connection to supply water is fifteen feet from the leaking tank farm containing more than 50,000 gallons of hazardous waste. If the drum storage area or the tank farm becomes involved in fire, the neglected state of the warehouse and tank farm containment area poses a significant collapse hazard affecting firefighter safety.
A catastrophic fire at Consolidated Pharmaceuticals could adversely affect the neighboring community. Thirteen of 20 chemical tanks contain thousands of gallons of strong acids, polar solvents, petroleum products, and toxic chemicals. There is not enough fire suppressing foam in the surrounding region to extinguish a fire involving the quantities of flammable and corrosive liquids in the tank farm. The only safe option is to let the products burn on site. It is impossible to characterize a resulting thermal column from a fire; however, the toxic plume will impinge upon surrounding residential area and transportation corridors. The property is adjacent to I-895 and is in close proximity to I-695 and I-97. More importantly, Brooklyn Middle School is within one half mile of the facility. In addition, two elementary schools are located within a one-mile radius. Depending upon weather conditions, emergency planning models indicate that hundreds of residents and school children within hazard zones might be exposed to a plume. It will be in the best interest of the community to remove the risks posed by the Consolidated Pharmaceuticals site.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
JOHN R. LEOPOLD
cc: David L. Stokes, Fire Chief, Anne Arundel County