Army asked to find the depth of danger at Detrick

Wednesday - 8/18/2010, 9:08am EDT

Sen. Benjamin Cardin

Click below to hear the interview

Download mp3

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin (D) is asking the Defense Department to move as quickly as possible to address contamination issues at Fort Detrick in Frederick.

The area was used to both test and store chemical, biological and radiological material in the 1950s and 1960s, including, said Cardin, possibly Agent Orange.

While there has been no link established, an investigation has been launched to determine whether testing at the fort is responsible for a rash of cancer cases in the area.

"We know that there were effects from the use of these chemicals that are still not fully understood," said Cardin, "and we just want to make sure that the contaminants have been totally cleaned up."

To that end, Cardin told Federal News Radio he has called the Army to sign a Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before December 1, 2010.

"We know that there were tests done there that could very well have compromised the drinking water...contaminated the underground water supply and we want to make sure that every test is done and every remedial action is taken."

While he told the Federal Drive he believes DoD understands the seriousness of the issue, he said "it's important to have an independent party that evaluates whether the Department of Defense is doing everything that they need to do and that's why we want the FFA entered into quickly."

"There are different aquifers that go through the area," said Cardin. "We want to make sure that if there are areas that are not safe, that they're not used; that the wells are not drilled to that level."

For more on Senator Cardin's view of what's ahead for Congress, including tax credits for small business and job creation, listen to the interview linked above.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.