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.

Comments (14)
  1. terry smith says:

    well i think they should knock it all down .clean it up the land enuff to let people on it .an put in a full raceing complex there is lots of room their for all type of from the stands there would be good water views .an maybe enuff room for small craft airport for race teams an parts to fly in .an the hiway right there so no back ups could bring lots of jobs an an money to a place in the county thats all most been forgotten .the mill all but about closed up anyway .an the shipyard only gets repair work now days so it time to do away with the old an get some people back to the land that time forgot if they can bring a race to the streets of down town baltimore an upset everybody life for a weekend but on the plus side pump tons of money in to the city.with only a year of planning think what could be done at the old mill grounds. .

    1. Lex says:

      where do you work so i can cry that it needs to be closed? they can build all the things you want right where your house is why take away my job so you can watch cars go round and round? its not been forgotten by me, my family, and the families of all my co-workers, let alone all the businesses that thrive by our continued operation.

      people want to vilify what we do now for polution that is 100+ years old, they knew what the area was like when they bought their house dirt-cheap, now they want to flatten The Point. The Point was there before your house, its called a pre-existing condition.

    2. Billiam says:

      Let me guess – Sparrows Point High, Patapsco High graduate? Are you kidding? Do you want to contribute any money as a taxpayer to your project? They can bring a race to Baltimore City streets because the streets are already there. Think about what you’re saying (or trying to say) – NASCAR? A small craft airport? Knock it all down – as if the area isn’t polluted enough. I don’t want to think about what could be done at the old mill grounds because I will be the first one to say I’m not paying for it. The pollution was going on there for years – why is it now a huge concern and issue? It seems a little late in the game that the MD Dept of Environment conducted a study (at a pretty penny I’m sure) to find out something they already knew (that the area around Sparrows Point is contaminated). But also – people in the area will tell you that some of the best crabbing is along the Boston Street/Clinton Street area – relatives of mine worked for chemical companies on Clinton Street and a lot of crabs were taken out of that water – no one is glowing from contaminants. Mark my words – MD taxpayers will wind up paying for this – you cerntainly aren’t going to get any money from Bethlehem Steel. One more thing – and say what you want – but really, “enuf?” “raceing?” “hiway?” “now days?” Did someone post this from Arkansas?

  2. T.K.H. says:

    What ‘s have to be gone ,have to be gone ! Let the old and ugly thing of the past time go and you ‘ll have the beauty and better life for your children’s future …….!
    Clean up the pollution ,keep the environtment green are our duties without no doubt and question ….!and that is the responsibility and duty of everybody ,not just the one who did it by them self ! We ‘re not childish enough to play the game of pointing the finger and make the blaming to each other in this life matter of our generation and the next generation to come …..!

  3. sheriff says:

    The neighbors weren’t too upset when they were all working there & making nice coin. Suddenly it’s the EPA’s Darling project to bash & as the usual suspects, (Developers) are behind this to create a monster entertainment complex. What I would like to see & it won’t happen in my lifetime is to have the place reasonably cleaned up from all the toxins. It’s impossible & anyone who says they can is a lying sack of s…..t just like the Allied chemical location where one day people will be getting cancer up the wazoo but the developers will be long gone. Place a port there for cruise lines with the big ships as they wouldn’t have to go under the Key bridge, a multiplex of casinos, gambling, hotels, restaurants & parks with businesses & homes & marina’s. But you will have a better chance of taking pants off a bare a$$……NASCAR???? That idea sucks with Dover, Richmond, Pocono so close & they people are dreary dull.

  4. ed says:

    Well they are building a new port how ever it is going to be down by the bay bridge so that they can bring in bigger ships. Ships that cause water pollution. We can not use tax payers dollars because the govt is broke our debt in america is out and they want to open another 2trillion to keep the united states going to pay the bills of america. The bill was supposed to go threw about this week with everyone saying no. Let’s face it unless someone donates the money one to clean then 2 for putting something there. Houses? No people wouldn’t buy there for years due to the water pollution. Race track? Really dover is 45 min away they are talking about redoing the harbor and bringing basketball back. I think we need a new govt cause they blind one thing with another gas and war almost out of money. O yeah they kill the Terrorist after how long? Like I said when one thing gets bad they will pull this type of thing. Its crazy to think but we have to do something about america and the finances first get us outta debt then worry about using our money for things other wise look for private donations.

  5. Joe says:

    Baltimore is a dump and obviously has been for years. Look into the crystal ball people, this is the future of your entire city! Will the last tax payer please turn off the lights as you leave this piece.

  6. overregulated says:

    All of the time that this has been going on the Eastern Shore has been hammered with crippling regulations, but the State seems to think Baltimore is exempt from regulation. Annapolis Democrats know how to take care of the voting stock.

    I remember the stench from that area 30 years ago when I was a kid coming from the Shore crossing the Key Bridge, funny that no one has raised a stink until now.

    I am certain the th Shore will get punished again by King O’Malley.

    1. williejoe says:

      F…………k the eastern shore & those Republican tea party stiff necked ignorant red necks. They all will take your money but wouldn’t give you the sweat off their shriveled balls to put out a fire on their own front lawn.

      1. Billiam says:

        Brilliant – there’s really no other way to describe it. Well, there is, but you just really can’t comment when there’s nothing to comment about. “Shriveled balls?” Really? “Stiff necked ignorant red necks?” Come on, you can do better than that. I missed the STFU part – did you mean to type that?

    2. overregulated says:

      And willie joe proves my point…

  7. Joe says:

    Willie Joe wants the sweat off of someones shriveled balls. Sorry they didn’t pass that same sex marriage thing for you.

    Quit being so angry, you and your lib friends already control this state, you “win”. Just think, years from now a sailing ship will travel from new York or Boston heading south, and parents will stand on the deck with their kids looking at the red glow of the water from Baltimore harbor burning and say that’s George bush’s fault. Way to go willie Joe, you win again!

    1. williejoe says:

      Joe, And don’t you f…….k’n forget it!

      1. Billiam says:

        C’mon williejoe – you can do better than that! You hardly used any adjectives that so easily would describe your true feelings! I’m really disappointed – seems like you could have used more exclamation points, apostrophes and most of all, the CAPS key to get your point across. Believe us, williejoe, we won’t forget it. You, yes.

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