MIDDLE RIVER — Lockheed Martin is in the final stages of its Middle River Complex environmental remediation plan and is encouraging the community to learn and ask questions about the efforts being made to restore the company’s complex.
The 160-acre complex is part of the Chesapeake Industrial Park and was originally the home of the Glenn L. Martin Company.
The site today includes 12 main buildings, an active industrial yard, parking lots, an athletic field, a concrete covered vacant lot, a trailer and parts storage lot and various grassy spaces along its perimeter. The complex is now prepping to undergo soil remediation of its “Block E” section.
An information session on this remedial action plan will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 20 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Marshy Point Nature Center.
Meghan Macdonald, spokesperson for Lockheed Martin, said the company has undergone environmental cleanups at the complex for 14 years and has been open and transparent with the public about how the cleanups are conducted and why they are necessary.
She said the info sessions are great opportunities for people to learn what is being done at the complex.
“We hope these informational meetings provide a way for our representatives to share updates on our past work, and the plans for future environmental cleanup work,” Macdonald said.
“We offer these sessions in a comfortable and casual setting where we personally answer questions, hear any concerns and take comments from the community members about the proposed work on the Block E soils project.”
In the late 1990s, Lockheed Martin began groundwater, soil, sediment and surface water testing at both the Middle River Complex and Martin State Airport to asses impacts from former industrial operations that were used more than a half-century ago.
Some of the impacts from the industrial operations were that radioactive materials, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a group of organic compounds used in the manufacture of plastics, and polycyclic hydrocarbons (PAHs), organic compounds containing only carbon and hydrogen and are released from burning coal and other substances, were found in varying elevated concentrations throughout parts of the complex.
Macdonald said Lockheed Martin works with the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) to mitigate any harm that could arise from these materials and chemicals.
“We first identify chemicals of concern at a site as well as the risks that may be associated with them to workers and the surrounding community,” she said.
”Once these chemicals of concern are identified the team determines if there are any ways workers or anyone else could be exposed to them. They diligently seek out potential routes of exposure and work to reduce or remove those exposure opportunities.”
Contaminated sediments were removed from the complex from 2011 to 2017 but the soil in Block E, one of nine blocks in the complex, is still being treated for these contaminants.
The other blocks, which are A, B, D, D Panhandle, F, G, H, and I have been cleaned up. They all have received a “No Further Action” letter from the Maryland Department of the Environment or have been differed due to current industrial activities taking place on them.
As the company now focuses on cleaning up Block E, Macdonald said soil removal methods have been created to protect workers from airborne dust and chemicals that they may come in contact with when cleaning up Block E.
“Air monitoring will occur throughout the duration of the cleanup, and we’ll continually assess wind speed and direction,” Macdonald said.
“Additional methods used to protect our workers and the community include suppressing airborne dust by wetting down work areas and covering soil piles with tarps.”
Workers will focus on four areas in Block E because of their high PCB concentrations. These areas are beneath the former locations of three transformer rooms on Block D and a grassy field where a 5000,000- gallon diesel fuel oil tank once was located.
Lockheed Martin aims to accomplish three objectives after Block E is cleaned: reduce site-related chemicals of concern to a cumulative risk of cancer for industrial and construction workers to 1 in 100,000 and reduce non-cancer risk to health index of 1; prevent the transfer of PCBs from soil to discharged stormwater at concentrations that would impact sediment already in place in Dark Head Cove; prevent leaching of PCBs from soil to groundwater at concentrations that would impact Dark Head Cove.
Lockheed Martin plans to submit its final risk-based disposal approval application to the MDE sometime next year, start the soil remedial actin in 2021 and continue post-cleanup monitoring until 2023 or until a “No Further Action” letter is received by the MDE.
Macdonald said as of now there are no plans for future use of the block E site and that following clean up the site will be a grassy area inside the industrial complex.