Update: "The Maryland Department of the Environment has assessed the results of sampling of Tuscarora Creek, creek sediments and source water that was discharged from the site to the creek and has found no adverse impacts to public health and the environment," the department said. "At this time warning signs from the creek can be removed."
Quantum Loophole has paused construction work on its massive data center campus in Maryland.
The Frederick News-Post reports that the developer has agreed with state officials to pause construction of a sewer line and pumping station on its Adamstown campus in Frederick County.
Quantum has reportedly racked up “numerous environmental violations” over the past five months.
Violations include lapses in the company's permits to the unauthorized discharge of hundreds of thousands of gallons of groundwater into Tuscarora Creek as part of the dewatering process to remove groundwater from a site.
Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) estimates that Quantum Loophole discharged 72,000 gallons of water per day into Tuscarora Creek over the course of around 30 days between April and May.
An MDE spokesperson told the News-Post that the department now has sampling data from Tuscarora Creek and the pumping station excavation site that show fluoride was present, but within drinking water standards at both sites.
The News-Posts added that new signs have been posted in the area by the company warning of ‘possible contamination’ and to avoid contact with the water.
The site was previously an aluminum smelting works. Fluoride, cyanide, and perchloroethylene have all previously been found in the groundwater while the works were in operation.
The News-Post also adds that construction work on a new sewer line and pumping station began in January without notification to the MDE as required, and were missing some required permits. The works also disturbed ground outside the authorized construction site and had deficiencies in its silt-prevention efforts.
The MDE received multiple complaints from nearby residents of murky discharge in the Tuscarora Creek downstream of the Quantum Loophole site.
"I was disappointed that construction at Quantum Loophole had not been going on that long and here we are, 30 or 45 days into it and the creek is discolored," local resident John Gregory said.
Asked if MDE would issue any fines or penalties to Quantum Loophole, and when such enforcement measures would be applicable, the MDE's said it was “working through the enforcement process."
Local Representative David Trone and Frederick County Council President Brad Young met with Quantum Loophole officials on Monday. Trone described the violations as "bumps in the road."
Quantum Loophole told DCD the company is committed to developing a data center campus "in accordance with the highest safety, environmental, and community standards."
It added: "Unfortunately, Quantum Loophole failed to use the proper channels of communication to keep the Maryland Department of the Environment advised of activity on site. Upon learning of MDE’s concerns, Quantum Loophole immediately and voluntarily stopped work, and has since implemented additional layers of diligence, review, and oversight of our activities."
"All parties are working together in full cooperation to review the situation and to ensure that all measures are taken before work begins again at the site. We are confident that testing at the site will come back at safe levels and Quantum Loophole does not expect any delays to delivery on the campus for clients," the company concluded.