Sludge Law Debated

October 03, 1990

The owner of a farm with the county's only sludge storage pit said an ordinance proposed to limit sludge storage is aimed at him.

"I'm worn out with this whole damn business," said Robert C. Neal, whose farm is off Bear Run Road in Taneytown.

"If you deprive me of the use of the facility, then somebody has got to pay," Neal told the Carroll County Commissioners at a public hearing Tuesday.

The commissioners are considering an ordinance that would allow sewage sludge to be stored only at publicly owned waste water treatment plants.

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said commissioners are concerned about the unknown long-term effects of sludge on people and the environment.

They did not make a decision Tuesday about the ordinance. About 30 people, including a handful of candidates for commissioner and other offices, attended the 75-minute hearing.

Sludge is treated waste from municipal sewage-treatment systems.

Sludge stored on the Neal farm comes from three plants in the Washington area and one in Hanover, Pa.

Sludge is spread on about 40 farms in the county.

An attorney for Enviro-Gro, the Baltimore company that has a permit to store sludge at the Neal farm, said buffer zones around areas where sludge is stored and spread should be consistent with those required by the state.

"To the extent the county is prohibiting what the state permits, the ordinance is unconstitutional," said Sharon K. Tucker of Annapolis.

No sludge is being stored or spread now on the Neal farm, she said.

Shirley Liebno, who lives near the Neal farm in Taneytown, said sludge should be stored only at waste water treatment plants.

"The expertise is there to control odor better than with individual property owners," she said.

Herbert A. Streaker Jr. of the Bureau of Environmental Health in the County Health Department said the ordinance also should allow storage at privately owned treatment plants.

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