Community requests open dialogue with Fort Detrick


FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — Fort Detrick is a U.S. Army Medical Command Installation in Frederick, Maryland. While it was initially designed for studying biological weapons from 1943 to 1969, it is currently a multi-governmental campus that conducts biomedical research.

Surrounding the facility is a number of homes and neighborhoods, where residents say their biggest complaint has been the water quality in the area.

“And a lot of critters coming from over there,” said Terrance Washington, a Heather Ridge resident, “Cause my building is right behind — by the gate of Fort Detrick. So just the water and a lot of critters but everything else has been fine.”

Following an inspection in June from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fort Detrick’s level 3 and 4 Laboratories did not meet bio-safety standards.

“The details — frankly I probably wouldn’t understand even if they were explained to me because the work is foreign to me,” said Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor, “But the communication is what provides the reassurance that all the proper procedures will be followed moving forward.”

Communication is key says one resident of the Heather Ridge neighborhood who wished to stay anonymous.

“Without people actually knowing what’s going on over there, they’re just going off of speculation or what they hear or whatever. You don’t actually know if the water is bad or if it’s Fort Detrick. You don’t actually know if this water is running through this system. You don’t know any of that so.”

He goes on to say that having open lines of dialogue with locals can disperse any concerns. O’Connor hopes that moving forward, the fort will disclose more information with city staff.

“And that, that information be provided out to the community as well,” said O’Connor, “So that they’re aware of the transparency that is absolutely necessary for the relationship to be strong.”

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