The Clean Water Blog

Fort Detrick's new medical waste incinerator: info sessions & public comments

Did you know that Fort Detrick's medical waste incinerator was shut down two years ago, and that a new one may be rebuilt? Join a public meeting Thursday night to learn more and provide your input to this proposal before its Environmental Assessment is finalized:

WHAT: Public Meeting on the Draft Environmental Assessment of medical waste incinerator options

WHO: Fort Detrick staff, state and federal regulators, interested residents, and you!

WHEN: Tuesday, June 4, 7:00PM

HOW: call in to 202-660-1999 and enter conference ID 486 669 105#

Fort Detrick, located in Frederick City and home to military research and the National Cancer Institute, produces significant hazardous waste that must be carefully processed to avoid risk to the environment and to human health. For years, Fort Detrick disposed of its hazardous medical waste in a trash incinerator on-site just inside the main gate on . However, in April 2018, the aging and expensive incinerators were shut down (read more in the FNP), and the fort began shipping its hazardous waste to a medical waste incinerator in the Curtis Bay neighborhood of Baltimore City.

In January, Fort Detrick announced that it was starting a review of this practice, potential alternatives, and the possibility of building a new medical waste incinerator on-base. (Read more in the FNP.) Now, they have released the draft Environmental Assessment: a study that considers the environmental and public health implications of continuing to ship hazardous medical waste to the incinerator in Baltimore, to repair or replace the old incinerator or rebuild on its existing site, or to install a distributed incinerator system at locations across Fort Detrick. The Environmental Assessment recommends building a new incinerator facility at a new location within Area A to handle the fort's waste on-site, and outlines the potential human health and environmental costs of this option and the alternatives. Read the full assessment (PDF), a set of slides summarizing the assessment (PDF), and answers to questions asked by the public in January (PDF) to learn more.

This week, Fort Detrick is hosting two public meetings over the phone to explain the Environmental Assessment and answer public questions. To join the conversation, call in to 202-660-1999 and enter conference ID 486 669 105# at one or both of these times:

  • Tuesday, June 2, at 5:00PM
  • Thursday, June 4, at 7:00PM

I'll be tuning in to the conversation to learn more and ask questions about this complex proposal, and I hope you'll join me. Whether or not you can join these public meetings, you can submit your comments on the proposal and the draft Environmental Assessment by emailing I'll be in touch after this week's public meetings to report back and share more information, and I hope you'll consider this proposal and share your thoughts and concerns by commenting to the email address above.