A list of county dump sites that have been filled or altered by trash, rubble, organic or industrial waste, published last week in The Harford County Sun, should not have included Daneker Sand and Gravel.
County officials who prepared the working list for a ground water protection program say the Daneker site was on the list because of permitted mining operations.
The site has not been altered by any type of dumping or trash.
Woody Williams is a bit bewildered by the brouhaha his list of 39 known dump, rubble and landfill sites has created.
The list came to the forefront of public debate two weeks ago when Williams, a county Health Department employee, pointed out that a proposed subdivision would be within 300 feet of an illegal dump.
As a result of the ensuing furor, the county Health Department will now review all development concept plans before they are sent to the Department of Planning and Zoning.
The creation of the list, and the revelation of its existence, were accidents.
Williams, a supervising sanitarian with the Health Department, said he began the list a year ago to prepare for a state law designed to protect ground water.
"It wasn't really a matter of not sharing it," said Williams, explaining the investigation of such sites is up to the state Department of the Environment.
The list came to light only because he sat in on a water and sewer planning meeting -- something he doesn't usually do.
"I was just sitting there when they started talking about the Hollywoods subdivision, and a light went on in my head," said Williams.
"I went back to the office and checked. It was right next to the Lieske dump site."
The proposed subdivision, to be between Aberdeen and Riverside, would be within 300 feet of an illegal dump site known as the Lieske dump. A spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment confirmed Friday that the site is under investigation.
But the existence of a list of dump sites came as a shock to County Council members. They couldn't understand why the Health Department hadn't shared the information with them, or why the Department of Public Works didn't know the Hollywoods subdivision would be so close to a dump site.
As a result of the list, council members gave the project a low priority in the county's master water and sewer plan.
The project will now be slated for development, and water and sewer service, in six to 10 years, instead of in the next five years.
That's proof that thegovernment bureaucracy, imperfect as it may be, worked to the public's benefit in the case of the Hollywoods subdivision, Williams said.
"It's always been a fragmented system, with everybody doing their own thing," said Williams.
"That's how come subdivisions were being approved on top of landfills. Mistakes are being made."
But he said the controversy "seems exaggerated because we are looking for these things and we are picking them up."
Williams said part of the confusion results because there is no single agency where the proverbial buck stops when it comes to environmental issues.
The county Health, Planning and Zoning and Public Works departments, and the stateDepartment of the Environment have separate responsibilities when itcomes to the environment, Williams said.
William T. Baker Jr., DPW director, agrees.
"I only have authority to deal with public land and public facilities. The key word is public," Baker said.
"Will DPW be the czar for environmental issues? Not unless the charter and code are changed."
William G. Carroll, director of planning and zoning, said county administrators have discussed creating a single department to review all environmental matters.
"But does it help or does it make it more complicated?" asked Carroll, whose department monitors wetlands and enforces tree-reforestation requirements that are part of the county zoning code, among other duties.
"Would we just create another obstacle to the expeditious review of plans? If you pull the environmental piece out, it weakens the ability of the Planning and Zoning Department to maintain a comprehensive balance. The solution isn't crystal clear, but it's definitely an issue."
HARFORD'S DUMP SITES
Here are known sites in Harford County sites where the land has been filled or altered with trash, rubble, organic wastes,industrial wastes or other man-made wastes:
Whiteford Quarry Dump.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Quarry Road & Route 136
Madonna Landfill (inactive).. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Mellow Road
Ashley Dump.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..U.S. 1 at Route 161
Markline Dump.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .Harford Creamery Road
Knopp Dump (inactive).. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..1430 Chrome Hill Road
Scarboro Landfill*.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .Scarboro Road
Miller Dump.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1400 Baldwin Mill Road, Route 165
Rahll Dump***.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 2307 Putnam Road
Red Pump Dump (inactive).. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .Red Pump Road
Bel Air Landfill (inactive).. .. .. .. ..NE corner Route 24 & U.S. 1