Manor View Dump Site

This web page provides information on the Manor View Dump Site, explains the hazards of methane and discusses the safety measures being taken to ensure protection of Potomac Place, Manor View Elementary School and surrounding communities.

Site History and Background

The Manor View Dump Site is an approximately 10 acre site near the intersection of MacArthur Road and 2nd Corps Boulevard in the northern portion of Fort Meade. The site is surrounded by residential housing (Potomac Place) to the north along Phelps Avenue, to the west along Hayden Drive, and to the south along 2nd Corps Boulevard. Manor View Elementary School is to the east.

In 2003, construction workers discovered buried waste and fill material when moving soil during the construction of military housing. Fort Meade began environmental investigations at the site to determine the nature and extent of the buried waste. As a result of the investigations, methane was detected at the site in 2004 and safety measures were implemented.

Fort Meade has not found any records describing the operation of the dump or identifying the nature of the waste placed in the dump. The Army conducted several environmental investigations to categorize the age, type and location of waste within the former dump site. The investigations found organic material buried in the western portion of the site in an area about one acre in size. The rest of the site contains construction debris. Some of the waste is from the 1940s. The decomposition of the organic material in the one-acre area is generating methane.

Extensive Safety Measures Taken

The Army has taken extensive actions to ensure the safety of Potomac Place, Manor View Elementary School and the surrounding communities. First, the Army evacuated 20 housing units and relocated residents adjacent to the site on Phelps Avenue and Hayden Drive in 2005, and installed methane monitors within the evacuated houses and Manor View Elementary School. Methane has not been detected at hazardous levels inside the homes or above normal background levels at the school. Second, the Army installed a temporary landfill gas migration control system to prevent the methane from moving beyond the site boundary. The system consisted of a vacuum blower which drew methane from the landfill and away from the residential properties. The methane was then safely discharged to the atmosphere at very low concentrations. To monitor the methane levels, the Army collected samples weekly from the system and from soil locations surrounding the site.

Interim Actions and Environmental Investigations

To address the source of the methane, the Army excavated the methane-generating waste at the site and disposed of it in an off-site landfill specifically designed to accept these wastes. The Army removed approximately 30,000 tons of waste, soil, and materials during the removal action in 2012. Air monitoring was conducted during the more than two-months of excavation activities, and no readings exceeded an action level.

The excavated area was backfilled and covered with 18 inches of clean imported fill and 6 inches of clean, imported topsoil. The remaining portion of the site containing the construction debris also has a soil cover ranging from two feet to eight feet in depth.

The Army has continued to sample and monitor for methane. Almost all locations now show no detection, while a few have continued to detect low-levels of residual methane. The remaining methane detections are likely attributable to the decomposition of woody debris and have not resulted in a need for additional corrective measures.

The Army conducted a thorough Remedial Investigation of the Site to determine if any residual contamination was present, and if so, whether the contamination presented a risk to human health or the environment. It also developed a Feasibility Study to look at alternatives for addressing any identified risks.

The investigations found some sporadic detection of metals and solvents in the groundwater. However, drinking water is not impacted because Fort Meade is supplied by a community water system.

Trichloroethlyene (TCE), a solvent, was detected in one sample collected in 2005 during indoor air sampling at the Manor View Elementary School in a crawl space and could present a risk if the crawl space was ever occupied on a full-time basis by a student or teacher in the future. TCE was not detected in 12 other samples of occupied spaces at the school, nor was it detected in five sub-slab samples collected from beneath occupied spaces.

The Army's Feasibility Study looked at alternatives for controlling these potential future risks and continuing to provide protection from the waste still buried at the Site. The removal of approximately 30,000 tons of soil and methane-generating waste substantially addressed the methane issue; however, inspections and long-term monitoring will continue to ensure the effectiveness of the action.

Methane (also known as natural gas) is a non-toxic, but potentially flammable, odorless, and colorless gas. Methane can form within landfills as a natural byproduct when organic waste, such as garbage, decomposes. Methane from landfills can pose a safety hazard at certain concentrations in the atmosphere that make it potentially flammable or explosive in the presence of an ignition source. Methane may displace oxygen in an enclosed space and present an asphyxiation hazard.

Remedy Selected to Provide Best Protection of Human Health and the Environment

The Army conducted a detailed analysis of various response alternatives and associated costs for the Site. The Army selected the alternative of Maintenance of Existing Soil Cover, Land Use Controls, and Long-Term Monitoring as it will best protect human health and the environment, is implementable and cost-effective, and satisfies the other selection criteria as required by law.  The selected alternative includes a five-year review as required by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) to ensure it continues to be effective.

Under this alternative, the existing soil cover over the Site will be inspected and maintained. Land use controls include signage at the Site, fencing, and prohibiting residential use of the Site, prohibiting groundwater use throughout the Site, prohibiting full-time occupancy of the crawl space at the Manor View Elementary School, and developing and enforcing provisions for the construction of buildings within 100 feet of the Site to prevent the possibility of vapor intrusion. Long-term monitoring includes semi-annual soil gas monitoring for methane, semi-annual groundwater sampling, annual indoor air sampling in the crawl space at the school, and annual site inspections.

The existing soil cover prevents direct contact with the buried waste and sub-surface soil. The land use controls prevent groundwater use and restrict excavation, and long-term monitoring ensures the soil cover continues to be effective and provide ongoing data.

The Remedial Design and Remedial Action Completion Report dated December 2014 documents implementation of the site monitoring outlined above. Routine maintenance and sampling is ongoing.  In addition to Army actions described above, Corvias Military Living has proactively installed the adjacent homes with a sub-slab depressurization system to further prevent any potential infiltration of residual methane.  Housing units were reoccupied in summer of 2015. 

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