Weary of nearly a decade of bureaucratic foot dragging on the Millersville landfill, residents of nearby communities have taken their case to Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. In a lawsuit filed recently, nearly 400 citizens implored the court to "take whatever steps necessary" to protect their communities from ground water contamination and other hazards connected with the landfill.
That the matter has festered to the point of legal action is the result of bureaucratic inaction. For nearly two decades, the state has mounted an on-again, off-again enforcement effort against Anne Arundel County for chronic environmental infractions. The most recent include operating without a valid permit or a sediment-control scheme. To make matters worse, four residential wells turned up tainted with a toxic dry-cleaning solvent.
Last week, in timing suspiciously coincident with community action and media coverage, state regulators finally stepped in, ordering the county to bring the facility up to environmental snuff within five months. This includes opening a new, $10 million disposal cell with a plastic liner and a system for collecting pollutants.