Lothian Residents Trying To Keep Rubble Fill Closed

October 30, 1991|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff writer

For 10 months, the rubble landfill across Sands Road from Paul Scott's Lothian home has been silent. And, if Scott has his way, it will remain that way.

Scott has asked the county Board of Appeals to overturn an administrative hearing officer's Sept. 20 decision that allows the 154-acre Al-Ray Super Rubble Landfill to reopen.

The hearing officer failed to calm residents' worries with the 8-year-old landfill operation, including heavy truck traffic, foul odors and the potential for contaminated drinking wells, said Scott, president of the Lothian-based Citizens for a Clean, Safe Environment.

"The residents don't want this reopened," said Patricia Nimmerrichter, Scott's attorney. "They don't feel the hearing officer put enough weight on the landfill's violations. They don't want to return to theway things were before it closed 10 months ago."

Al-Ray was ordered closed in December after the county discovered the landfill had exceeded capacity permitted by 1983 zoning exception. The landfill was closed temporarily a month earlier after inspectors discovered medical wastes improperly dumped there.

The appeals board will hear Scott's objections at 2 p.m. Jan. 22 and 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23.

Hearing Officer Robert Wilcox ruled that Charles F. Meyer & Sons Inc. could reopen Al-Ray for 16 months if he complied with certain environmental safeguards and closed the landfill with a plasticlike lid at the end ofthat period.

The ruling requires Meyer to post a $1 million bond that would enable the county to close the landfill if the company abandoned the site before the required work is complete.

Meyer also must pay the county $50,000 to hire a full-time inspector who will monitor the content of all rubble dumped there and must deposit $35,000 in an escrow account that will pay for the replacement of any wells found contaminated by Al-Ray.

James Nolan, a lawyer for Al-Ray, said Meyer plans to comply with Wilcox's order and reopen soon.

But, Scott said, those safeguards are not enough. Referring to the escrow account, he said, "$35,000 is much too little. If your well is contaminated, your property is contaminated and your property values go down. They couldn't pay for anybody's property with that."

Scott saidhe also is upset that the decision allows another 472,000 cubic yards -- or about 14,000 truckloads -- of rubble to be dumped to fill leftover depressions. Although half of that capacity would go free of charge to the county and City of Annapolis, Scott said no more rubble should be allowed on to the site.

"They have reached the saturationpoint with the trucks coming in and out, with not being able to opentheir windows because of the stench and their fears about what the landfill might be doing to their health," Nimmerrichter said of area residents. "They feel they have to do what they can to close it right now."

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