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Neighbors Want Answers About Sparrows Point Pollution

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AP Photo/Robert Meyers, The Sparrow Point steel mill

AP Photo/Robert Meyers, The Sparrow Point steel mill

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SPARROWS POINT, Md. (WJZ) — Concern is growing over pollution in a local waterway that could be putting people’s health at risk. 

Kai Jackson explains neighbors want to know what’s going to be done about it.

Assessing what’s in the water around Sparrows and Coke Point was the easy part.  The more difficult job is figuring out how to clean it and who’s paying the bill.

The area of Sparrows Point in Baltimore County is a ghost of its former self.  The mighty steel industry ruled here for more than a century.

“It’s really mind boggling, the way that the pollution was really dumped there,” said Louis Konopacki.

Those who live around here now say the jobs, houses and livelihoods that steel provided came with a price: pollution.

“The pollution is at the bottom in the sediment, in the oysters, in the food chain,” said Dunbar Brooks.

A Maryland Port Administration study confirmed the water around Coke Point and Sparrows Point is contaminated.  The Maryland Department of the Environment says it’s not safe to swim, fish or crab in the area.

A meeting Wednesday at the North Point Volunteer Fire Department discussed options for cleaning it up.

“The ultimate goal is to restore the site,” said Horacio Tablada, Maryland Department of the Environment.

Now that a study has confirmed the pollution, now the question remains: who will pay for it?

“We would do the cleanup if we had the project,” said Frank Hamons, Maryland Port Administration.  “Who pays for it, we didn’t put it there so we think someone who did should pay for it.”

The Maryland Port Administration is looking at corrective measures.  The agency says they don’t believe taxpayers should foot the bill, saying taxpayers aren’t the ones who polluted it.

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