Charged by county inspectors of over-filling their Lothian rubble fill, Al-Ray Concrete Corp. officials will have to show this morning why they should not be shut down permanently.
The county Department of Inspections and Permits issued a temporary stop-work order at the the Sands Road operation Nov. 15 after zoning inspectors discovered bloody bandages, syringes and other medical waste illegally dumped there.
But, more importantly, inspectors also believe that Al-Ray has dumped more construction debris and rubble there than allowed under its 1983 special zoning exception, said John Peacock, chief of environmental enforcement for Inspections and Permits.
Attorneys representing Al-Ray and the county will debate that point before an administrative hearing officer at 9 a.m. in the County Council Chamber.
Senior Assistant County Attorney Jamie Baer said she will ask the hearing officer to require Al-Ray to submit a plan to close the rubble fill. She said the county will present a "laundry list" of concerns regarding the size of the operation and the time table for permanent closing.
Baer said she was negotiating with James Nolan, a lawyer representing Al-Ray owner Samuel F. Myer, all day by telephone yesterday on what a new plan might look like and planned to meet with him again before the hearing.
"I suspect that even Al-Ray will agree that we need a new environmentally safe plan," she said. "I think we all agree that what we have now is not what was planned in 1983."
Nolan could not be reached for comment.
Immediately after the county issued the stop-work order, Nolan said the county's claims about over-filling are inaccurate "from an engineering standpoint."
Baer described the case as "a learning process" because it is the first to come under last spring's emergency legislation regulating rubble fills -- which are former sand and gravel pits used to discard bulky construction debris. The new law gave a hearing officer the power to revoke or modify special exceptions for rubble fills, she said.
Meanwhile, Sands Road residents who have battled the Al-Ray operation since its inception anxiously await the outcome of tomorrow's hearing.
"We're hoping he remains closed," said Paul Scott, president of Concerned Citizens for a Clean and Safe Environment, one of two resident groups concerned about the landfill. "It's been like heaven having it closed these last weeks. We don't have to put up with the terrible truck traffic or the dust."
Residents say they are particularly concerned about the discovery of medical waste at the landfill.
Inspectors found about 15 bags of medical waste, weighing 10 to 12 pounds each, mixed in with rubble, said Mike Sullivan, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment.
The Environmental Crimes Unit of the Attorney General's Office has begun investigating because illegal dumping of medical waste is a felony, Sullivan said. That investigation will focus on the hauler, Trans-Waste Haulers, he said.
But, medical waste will not be the main issue at today's hearing, Peacock said.
"I'm sure the medical wastes will be an issue, because it was part of the stop-work order," Peacock said. "But that by itself will not affect the long-term closing of the landfill.
"I could care less about the medical waste issue. The medical wastes have been removed. That's done. The real point is they are over-filled."