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Elevated arsenic levels found in Washington Co.

HAGERSTOWN — The Maryland Department of the Environment says water seeping from the ground in the area of Washington County’s Old City/County Landfill was found to have an arsenic level nearly twice as high as the federal standard for drinking water.

MDE spokesman Jay Apperson says the county has hired a contractor to investigate the issue and develop an action plan at the department’s request.

A sample taken Aug. 3 was revealed to have 17 parts per billion of arsenic. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set the arsenic standard for drinking water at 10 parts per billion.

Bruce James, a professor of soil chemistry at the University of Maryland, tells The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown that the finding should warrant monitoring and caution, but not necessarily alarm.