Letter To The Editor: Anne Arundel County Allows Construction In An Asbestos Contaminated Dumpsite

Residents Put At Serious Health Risk At River Glen


Anne Arundel County leadership claims that they are concerned about the environment and the citizens of this country; this could not be further from the truth. They have knowingly and willfully allowed the development of a subdivision named River Glen in Pasadena, Maryland, that used to be an asbestos dumpsite together with other contaminants. Anne Arundel County has tried to cover up that they knew about the hazardous materials, the contamination of Cockey Creek/Magothy River, and continues to allow the developer to excavate, contaminate and develop the area. The Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) is finally taking an interest in the issue. I am afraid that it is too late for many of the surrounding residents who have been exposed to the contamination.

Below is a short history of the events and the evidence to support it.

Over the past three years, there has been a development of 12-plus acres known as River Glen in Pasadena, off of Woods Road. This is a critical area as it is surrounded by Cockey Creek that runs into the Magothy River and is a R1 residential area. The county was notified by local neighbors back in 2008 that this land that they wanted to develop was loaded with hazardous materials because the original owner used it as an illegal dumpsite. In fact, Bay Engineering of Annapolis held a community meeting prior to subdivision approval; residents attended, and they mentioned this situation.

Residents contacted the county and Anne Arundel County holds documents of the development of this property through the Critical Area Office of Anne Arundel County. In 2010, the Department of Health requested a complete environmental study prior to issuing any permits for well or septic on this site. This was never done. In 2011, there was the normal environmental study that is commonly done when building in a critical area, but there was never a full environmental study done as requested several times.

The subdivision was sold to a Phil Philbin in 2018 and approved immediately after the purchase with not one mention of correcting the hazardous materials or waste that many residents surrounding the property told to the engineer, who now works for Mr. Philbin as well as informing the county, Mr. [Steuart] Pittman and his attorneys.

The development of this land caused great concern to neighbors in close proximity to the property as there were mounds of dust and ground movement during the site work. Asbestos was a main waste that was dumped on that site over the past 20 to 30 years by the original owners and the dumping was witnessed by many.

After many meetings and letters to the county and nothing being done, in fact, a county health department person walked the site in September 2022 and said he saw no waste materials even though there were pictures showing just the opposite.

Residents of the area decided to take matters into their own hands and had samples taken from the property and tested.

The Maryland Department of the Environment is now involved. After submitting the test results to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and having their crew walk the site, the following is how this matter should be resolved.

“The current status is that our solid waste program is issuing a site complaint to the property owner regarding an open dump of regulated solid waste (our first step in this process, advising cleanup actions are required). We are also referring this case internally to MDE's Air and Radiation Administration with regards to asbestos containing materials. We are also copying Anne Arundel County's Bureau of Environmental Health for coordination moving forward. Thank you for your inquiry.”

Mr. Philbin has erected three out of eight homes on this site knowing what hazardous materials were under these homes. Each of these homes is well and septic. He took no concern as to what could affect the people in these homes that are currently occupying them, nor what the disruption of these materials has done and could do to the surrounding residents or the waters off of Chelsea Beach as it runs into Cockey Creek  (see attached Facebook concerns from residents that live in that area and picture of dead fish as well).


Fernando Berra III
Pasadena, Maryland


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