If Anne Arundel County begins shipping its trash out of state, don't expect Ohio's Poland Township to roll out the red carpet.
"We don't want it in Poland Township," Connie Coloutes, chairman of the Poland Township trustees, said Friday.
Anne Arundel officials are considering out-of-state landfills as an alternative to the county's troubled facilities. The Department of Utilities released a plan two weeks ago that would ship county trash temporarily if a new, environmentally safe disposal area is not opened at the Millersville Landfill by a state-imposed Sept. 12 deadline.
But it was a trial balloon floated several weeks earlier by three County Council members that caught Coloutes' attention, prompting her to write a letter rebuffing County Council Chairman David Boschert.
Boschert, whose district includes the Millersville facility, and Councilmen Edward Middlebrooks of Glen Burnie and George Bachman of Linthicum suggested that the county hire a private hauler by July 1. They cited Browning Ferris Industries, which owns numerous Midwestern facilities, including the Carbon Limestone Landfill in Poland Township, as an example.
"Thanks but no thanks," Coloutes said in her June 5 letter. "You manufactured it, you dispose of it, and not by sending your problems to our community."
Coloutes said Poland Township's 14,000 residents are no strangers to out-of-state trash. At one point, the BFI's 780-acre facility was accepting more than 10,000 tons of trash from New York, New Jersey and other northeastern states, she said.
Upset by the contamination of drinking wells, citizens fought to close the landfill for five years. "We had numerous instances where residents couldn't even take a bath, the water was so contaminated," Coloutes said.
Last year, the town, the Mahoning County Board of Health and BFI reached a compromise. BFI agreed to limit its out-of-state waste to 2,000 tons per day. In return, it will provide the county with landfill space for 30 years and public water to the town.
John Lininger, marketing development director for BFI, notes that Coloutes signed that agreement. "I don't know if Ms. Coloutes was speaking for herself or for the trustees, but we have a 30-year contract with the Poland Township," he said.
Despite Coloutes' letter, Boschert said he's not ready to eliminate the out-of-state option.
"The Poland Township doesn't want it, and I can understand that," he said. But they have an agreement . . . and I have to look at that as a potential solution."