While the cleanup of potentially hazardous material at military bases around the nation is expected to continue through 2015, the cleanup at the Carderock Naval Surface Warfare Center, also known as David Taylor, between MacArthur Boulevard and the Clara Barton Parkway, may finish next year.
“We have drastically accelerated this cleanup program,” said Andrew Gutberlet, of the Navy.
Gutberlet was speaking at a meeting of Carderock’s Restoration Advisory Board (RAB). The board is comprised of members from the military and neighboring communities and is providing oversight on the project.
The Navy realized in 1991 that canisters containing hazardous materials might have been buried on or around the site in 1918. As a result, the Navy, in conjunction with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), began investigating the places deemed most likely for the canisters, if they were in fact buried there.
“I’m satisfied that MDE and Carderock have checked all possible locations,” said William Kahl, of the Maryland Department of the Environment. “We don’t really know that anything was buried.”
The resident representatives seem happy with the progress thus far. “This is good,” said Dominique Rychlik.
Residents on the RAB say that the process has been transparent. Their main concern is that it be a thorough investigation, easing any concerns for the future.
“We’re not going to have to, in 20 years, worry that there are some canisters buried,” said Cabin John resident Burton Gray.
In the course of the investigation, two sites were found to be contaminated, not by canisters but by other pollutants. As a result, those sites will be cleaned up. The exact method of the cleanup depends on further studies to be completed this year.
The project has been accelerated because of its relatively small size of the site.
According to Gutberlet, Carderock will be among the first in the country to have completed its cleanup.
“This is going to be the major cleanup on the base,” he said.