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Locations of Gas Plants and Other Coal-tar Sites in the U.S.

THE STATE OF MARYLAND

Introduction

            Maryland, being not only a small but largely rural State, at least as was devoted to area during its development, has a manufactured gas history largely influenced by Baltimore, its major city. Nearly everyone familiar with manufactured gas knows that the nation’s first commercial gas was generated here. This is not withstanding the fact that evidence points to Richmond, Virginia has having the first town gas, and perhaps as early as 1803. Nonetheless, Maryland’s manufactured gas history is dominated with what went on in and around Baltimore.

            From its 1816 beginnings, the manufacture, storage and district distribution of gas at Baltimore was carried on at as many as 42 locations where we can reasonably expect to find some toxic PAH-related wastes. The City’s first  real commercial gas works was located at what has become known as the “Old Malt House,” off Saratoga Street (1816-1845), and not at the famous and lastingly large Spring Garden Plant, which was begun on 57 acres in 1855. A string of other gas plants operated in the days before consolidated came to be, and also before reliable gas distribution piping was available, about 1910. Opposition arrived with People’s Gas Company in 1871, and with Consumer’s Mutual Gas Light Co., in 1877, employing the new Lowe carburetted water gas process. Consolidation toward Baltimore’s eventual monopoly of town gas began in 1880, but took some  years before the final achievement was represented by the Consolidated Gas, Electric Light & Power Company.1885 brought about the first consolidation at Baltimore, with merger of Equitable and Chesapeake companies.

            For the remainder of Maryland, small gas plants were established in medium-sized towns, up to cities, while the gas industry of Baltimore, proper began to creep outwardly, on the general “suburban” concept that has been set in motion at Philadelphia by U.G.I. about 1895. The Maryland phenomenon can be tracked to an origin at about 1903. In the end, the spread of suburban manufactured gas plants met those of the general countryside in the late 1920’s due to the improvement in distribution pipe joint integrity and improved gas compression capacity.

            Other forms of tar sites are to be expected in Maryland, typified mainly by industrial producer gas plants serving such as cement making (operating on the good limestone deposits of the State), and the citizen predilection to the use of ice, for food preservation and for popular drinks. Ice plants often made use of gas works ammonia as refrigerants and had ammonia gas compressors frequently powered by producer gas. Additionally, there were coke ovens in and around the steel industry at Sparrows Point. The later surged forward from about 1903.

         Good gas coals were easily obtainable from what became West Virginia and much of this feedstock also was shipped by rail and ship out of Baltimore harbor.

Click the blue "EPA" link below to view the
Maryland map of the EPA 1985 Radian FMGP Report.

Click the green "Hatheway" link below to view the
Maryland map of Professor Hatheway's research.

Copyright © 2012  by Dr. Allen W. Hatheway    All rights reserved.
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