A privately held Lothian rubble landfill can reopen for 16 months ifit surrenders more than half of its remaining capacity to Anne Arundel County and Annapolis, an administrative hearing officer ruled yesterday.
Robert C. Wilcox had ordered Charles F. Meyer & Sons to close the 154-acre Al-Ray Super Rubble Landfill on Sands Road last December for accepting more rubble than allowed under the facility's 8-year-old zoning exception.
Meyer, which operates and co-owns Al-Ray, asked Wilcox for permission Aug. 14 to restart the operation. With the support of the Neall administration, he asked permission to dump another 472,000 cubic yards to fill leftover depressions before permanently closing the site in 1996 with an expensive, plasticlike cap.
Wilcox conditionally approved Meyer's request yesterday in an 18-page opinion.
The rulingrequires Meyer to post a $1 million bond that would enable the county to finish the $1.3 million closure if the company abandons the site. Meyer already has posted bonds totaling $362,500.
Wilcox also ordered Meyer to pay the county $50,000 to hire a full-time inspector who will monitor the content of all rubble dumped there. Meyer must deposit another $35,000 in an escrow account that will pay for the replacement of any residential drinking wells found contaminated by Al-Ray.
Although the ruling allows additional rubble to be dumped, Wilcox said Meyer will not be allowed to profit by "deliberately" violating its original, 1983-approved capacity by 272,000 cubic yards. That additional capacity, he said, should, "to the extent possible, serve a public function."
Wilcox has ordered Meyer to permit the county and city to dump up to 272,000 cubic yards at Al-Ray at no cost.
Finally, Wilcox has given Meyer 16 months to fill the depressionsand begin the final closure. If the depressions aren't filled with rubble by then, the company must use clean fill dirt, which is more expensive, he said.
The company had sought up to two years to fill the depressions. But, Wilcox said, the extra time would allow Meyer to accept a higher percentage of asbestos, which requires special handling and generates a higher profit.
James Nolan, an attorney representingMeyer, said he waspleased the decision allows the company to move forward with its closure plan. Meyer officials have negotiated for morethan a year with county zoning and state environmental officials to develop the two-phase plan, Nolan said, to closes the landfill.
Wilcox agreed with state and county officials that the depressions mustbe filled. Left untreated, water would more easily drain through rubble, causing erosion and possibly carrying pollutants to well-water supplies.
But residents had hoped Meyer would be required to use excess rubble, now mounded on the landfill's west bank, or clean fill dirt.
Wilcox rejected both options. He said moving rubble already at the landfill would cause erosion and could puncture bags of asbestos, releasing the cancer-causing fiber into the air. And the high costof clean fill would give Meyer too great an incentive to abandon thesite, he said.