After months of talking with residents and state regulators, Lockheed Martin said they're aiming to handle upcoming sediment pollutants cleanup in waters near its Middle River facility with as little intrusion as possible.
Residents "asked us to consider them as we create the plan for how we're going to drive the trucks and, when we're selecting the remedy, to have a balanced approach," said Tom Blackman, a project lead for environmental remediation for Lockheed Martin.
The alternative ultimately selected will still require "some dredging," Blackman said, of nearly 50,000 cubic yards over 12 1/2 acres, plus 8 1/5 acres of in situ treatment (using carbon pellets to attract particles), followed by short- or long-term monitoring for much of the waters.
Lockheed Martin will host an information session next Thursday, Feb. 28. at the Wilson Point Fire Hall where they'll talk about their plans and take residents' questions.
"We'll talk about the history we'll talk about what we've learned, what we're doing to assess the alternatives ... and what we're recommending now, what we've put forward to the regulatory agencies for review," Blackman said.
In December, Lockheed Martin submitted their latest feasibility study to state and federal regulators, beginning a long process to the start of work. The meeting next Thursday is the next step as Blackman's department sets out to deal with sediments in Cow Pen Creek, Dark Head Cove and Dark Head Creek, many of which were deposited when the Middle River facility was operated by the Glenn L. Martin Co. during World War II.
The pollutants include metals, solvents and petroleum, none of which pose an immediate risk to human safety but have been in the water for decades.
Lockheed has been examining and exercising cleanup options for the site since the 1990s. In 2011, Essex-Middle River Patch reported on cleanup efforts the company was taking at the time under the Maryland Department of the Environment's Voluntary Cleanup Program.
Jane Michael, a Wilson Point resident, sat on a working group of 15 to 20 residents Lockheed assembled that met three times in 2012. Michael said Lockheed explained their remediation options to the group and "got our input as individuals."
Residents will see trucks on the roads headed toward the affected waterways, which will be closed as work goes on during the spring and summer of each year.
"I think (the option chosen) is a very good match. I think the did a very good job of sharing with us what they had found in terms of what pollutants were there," she said.
A resident of Wilson Point for six years, Michael said she's heard about Lockheed Martin's voluntary cleanup plans for as long as she's been in the area.
"I have been very impressed with Lockheed's openness and the degree of detail they shared with everybody. I have sensed all along they have been very honest with the community and they're doing their very best to put things back. They can't return it to what it was 70 years ago, but they're getting it to a point where its going to be safe or usable for future generations."
A featibility study, explained in a newsletter attached to this story, was submitted to state and federal regulators. Blackman said the next phase, permitting, could allow the crews to begin work on the site in 2015 and finish in 2016, with final reporting complete by 2017.
If you can't make it to the meeting, Lockheed Martin will continue to gather public comments through March 28. Comments can be mailed to Lockheed Martin, c/o Kay Armstrong, P. O. Box 2687, Tybee Island, GA 31328, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or delivered by phone at 888-340-2006.
More information is available on the Middle River facility's website.