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Lockheed Martin to Continue Clean-Up of Middle River Site

Aerospace company unveils plans to help remove groundwater contaminants.

Lockheed Martin wants to inject a mixture of water and nutrients into the ground of its Middle River site in order to help naturally break down contamination in groundwater caused decades ago by poor environmental practices.

The aerospace corporation described its groundwater remediation plan during a community meeting Thursday night at the Marshy Point Nature Center. The plan is part of Lockheed Martin’s overall remediation strategy at the 160-acre complex.

The Middle River site consists of 12 main buildings, an active industrial area and yard, perimeter parking lots, an athletic field, a concrete- covered vacant lot, a trailer and parts storage lot, and grass-covered green spaces along its perimeter.

“Environmental practices of the past were not good,” said Tom Blackman, project lead of the cleanup for Lockheed Martin. “There were actual instructions back as far as World War II where people were told to pour chemicals out when they were done with them. We’re trying to correct those mistakes.”

Lockheed Martin has taken thousands of samples from 200 groundwater locations, 400 soil borings and 80 surface water and sediment locations over the past decade, Blackman said.

According to Lockheed Martin’s investigation, trichloroethene (TCE) was the most common chemical found in the groundwater, concentrated on the western and eastern portions of the site.

The chemical is mostly used as a solvent to remove grease from metal parts and as an ingredient found in adhesives, paint removers and spot removers, Blackman said. He added that the insignificant amount of groundwater contamination, along with its location, means it poses little risk of exposure to residents.

Lockheed Martin is accepting public comment on its plans until Sept. 30. The company hopes to have Maryland Department of Environment approval this winter with plans of actually beginning the cleanup in 2014 once it has completed design and testing of its bioremediation pump.

As part of the cleanup effort, Lockheed Martin entered into the Maryland Department of the Environment's Voluntary Cleanup Program.

Established by the state legislature in 1997, the program's goal is to increase the number of sites cleaned by streamlining the cleanup process while ensuring compliance with existing environmental regulations. The company began .

Residents in the Essex-Middle River community have been pleased so far with how well Lockheed Martin has kept residents informed and involved in the cleanup process.

“Lockheed Martin has been straightforward with us the whole way,” said Ed Kramer of the Hawthorne Civic Association.

“Much of this damage dates back to World War II, so it didn’t happen overnight and we know it won’t be cleaned up overnight. It’s going to take time, but they seem to want to do what’s right.”

Rocky Jones, president of the Essex-Middle River Civic Council, echoed a similar sentiment. He has been on a community steering committee with Lockheed Martin helping to keep residents updated on the cleanup efforts.

“It’s a process and Lockheed Martin has been transparent with us the whole time,” Jones said. “We can’t ask for anything more as a community.”

Those wishing to make comments on the plan can mail them to: Lockheed Martin, c/o Kay Armstrong, 455 Hillside Trail, Eddyville, KY 42038.

Comments can also be made via email to darrylkay@aol.com, by phone at 888-340-2006 and/or by fax at 270-388-0348.

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