Consultant's Call For Massive Landfill Received Cooly

March 06, 1991|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff writer

FREDERICK — Carroll's County Commissioners don't blame their counterparts in Frederick for not wanting to bury trash from three neighboring counties along with their own.

They wouldn't want to do it either.

And both counties' leaders, along with those of Washington and Howard, said they want a heavier push for recycling than a consulting team they hired has included in a solid waste study.

"I can't believe any one of the counties are wanting to accept (a four-county landfill)," said Carroll Commissioner President Donald I. Dell. "It would take a horrendous amount of land."

The commissioners, executives and some staff from Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Washington countiesmet for the first time Monday to discuss the report from a $300,000 study done by the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority.

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

A waste-to-energy project would be either a steam-producing plant that would sell electricity through a utility, or a plant to turn waste into pellets that could be bought and burned by cement plants such as Lehigh Portland Cement Co. in Union Bridge.

Although the four-county landfill was in virtually all the options proposed by the consulting team, the county leaders agreed not to pursue itduring the meeting.

They are still considering other options in the consultants' report, as well as their own idea to look for recycling markets that would find them more appealing as a group than as single counties.

"Because we're hosting this meeting today does not mean we are hosting your solid waste tomorrow," said Frederick Commissioner President Ronald L. Sundergill, to a round of sympathetic laughter.

The officials will meet in Carroll in about three months to discuss further whether they will join in any such ventures.

Carroll Commissioners Elmer C. Lippy Jr. and Julia W. Gouge both said they wanted to see how much Carroll residents can recycle before committing to any project.

Lippy said he believes that if the county shootsfor a more ambitious goal of recycling up to 60 percent of its solidwaste, no incinerators would be needed and landfill space would be conserved.

Gouge said that building an incinerator before recyclinggets off the ground would be premature and expensive. She said if one is built, it should start small, and the county should encourage people to generate less garbage in the first place.

"If you have to meet a certain capacity every day to burn, you're not going to be encouraged to recycle," Gouge said.

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 have to recycle 20 percent. Carroll is now recycling 6 percent of its waste.

The consultants' eight options consisted of various combinations of the following:

* Building incinerators at either Springfield Hospital Center or Maryland Correctional Institution at Hagerstown to burn non-recyclable trash. The counties would burn trash and sell the steam energy to those institutions through a utility.

* Building a plant to turn non-recyclable trash into fuel pellets.

* A regional landfill in FrederickCounty for both trash and ash from an incinerator.

Frederick Commissioner Gail Bowerman said the study showed little creative thinkingby naming only one possible landfill site -- Frederick County -- andignoring the impact such a landfill would have on roads, infrastructure and quality of life.

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