Elkton Farm Firehole

Site Contact:
Dominic Ventura


Site Location:
183 Zeitler Rd.
Elkton, MD 21921

The Elkton Farm Firehole site is located two miles northwest of Elkton, Maryland near the intersection of Routes 40 and 279. The Firehole Site occupies approximately 55-acres of the 400-acre Elkton Farm and is located just south of Zeitler Road between Little Elk Creek and Laurel Run. The most recent use of the Site has been as a working farm. During the decade before and during World War II, the parcel had been the site of activity related to the manufacture of fireworks and munitions.

After being identified as a potentially responsible party, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contracted an investigation of the site operations and ownership history of the Elkton, Maryland site of Triumph Explosives, Inc. (TEI). This report identified an area on the current Elkton Farm as the Firehole. The Firehole was documented as an area for the disposal of waste explosives material by TEI during and just after WWII. Ordnance waste was reportedly collected in drums and kept wetted with alcohol or ether. This waste was then carried to a shallow pit off Zeitler Road, spread thinly and allowed to burn. Plant personnel monitored the burn until the waste explosive was ostensibly consumed. Ordnance-related debris was observed on the ground surface during the sampling event.

ERRS began excavating fireholes in April 2008. A trommel mechanical sifter was used to separate MEC and MD from site soils. In August and September 2008 the site owner scraped 46 grids with a pan scraper and stockpiled soil. Soil sifting activities are complete and EPA demobilized from the site in February 2009. The property owner agreed to spread stockpiled soil and grade the site, but was unable to complete this work due to financial difficulties. EPA contractors mobilized to the site the week of May 2, 2011 to complete outstanding work which includes spreading stockpiled soils and re-vegetating site. All removal work at the site is now complete.

For additional information, visit the Pollution Report (POLREPS) section.