Carroll, Frederick Dismiss Trash Study

March 06, 1991|By Anne Haddad and Erik Nelson | Anne Haddad and Erik Nelson,Staff writers

Carroll and Frederick counties on Monday trashed the recommendationsof a $300,000 study on how four counties, including Howard, should cooperate on garbage disposal.

"Both Frederick and Carroll countiesindicated that regional facilities were not something that they werewilling to pursue," said John O'Hara, chief of the Howard County Bureau of Environmental Services.

"Given that, there's really no reason to pursue anything on a regional basis," said O'Hara, who attended the meeting with County Executive Charles I. Ecker.

Lacking a regional solution, the county will have 10 years to replace the Alpha Ridge Landfill in Mariottsville, O'Hara said.

Howard may turn to neighboring counties to the eastto collaborate on a regional solid waste plan, he said.

The studyindicated that the best alternatives for the four counties as a group would be combinations of one or more trash-burning power plants anda regional landfill in either Frederick or Carroll counties for logistical reasons.

"Because we're hosting this meeting today does notmean we are hosting your solid waste tomorrow," Frederick County Commissioner President Ronald L. Sundergill said to sympathetic laughterMonday from other officials.

The meeting was the first chance forelected officials from all the counties to hear from and discuss thestudy by the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority and other consultants.

Commissioned in 1989, the study was to show how the four counties could cooperate on solid waste disposal, including landfills, recycling, composting and a waste-to-energy project.

The waste-to-energy plant would be either a steam-producer that would sell electricity through a utility, or a plant to turn waste into pellets that could be bought and burned by cement plants.

But O'Hara said the study's findings indicated that the waste-pellet plant, which the commissioners left open, would not work well because the cement plants"didn't require enough materials to justify a regional facility."

The four counties' leaders said they want a heavier emphasis on recycling than the consultants included.

They agreed to meet again in three months to discuss prospects of working together on recycling, such as looking for markets that would find them more appealing as a group than as single counties. But the study noted that recycling is probably best accomplished by the counties individually.

Carroll Commissioner Elmer Lippy said he believes that if the county shoots forrecycling 60 percent of its solid waste, no incinerators would be needed and landfill space would be conserved.

But O'Hara called 60 percent "overly ambitious" and pointed out that "our recycling plan indicated we would be doing well if we could recycle about 30 percent."Howard now recycles 4 percent.

State law requires counties with up to 150,000 people to recycle at least 15 percent of their solid waste by 1994. Counties with more people, including Howard, have to recycle 20 percent.

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