County, companies study new environmental laws Chamber talk centers on keeping in compliance

July 29, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

WESTMINSTER -- Keeping current with environmental regulations is important to business owners and managers who must change their operations to comply with new laws.

Yesterday, five county officials briefed about 65 business people on environmental issues at a breakfast sponsored by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce at Friendly Farms restaurant.

Regulations to clean up the air, water and underground storage tanks and to encourage recycling are necessary, Commissioner

Julia W. Gouge said.

People would become "careless" if not for regulations, she added.

The briefing was divided into four issues:

* Recycling -- The state has mandated that Carroll recycle 15 percent of its waste by 1994, county Comptroller Eugene C. Curfman said.

If the county doesn't meet that standard, the state will not allow the county to issue any building permits, he said. "It's a way for them [the state] to say 'Either do it or here's the consequences,' " Mr. Curfman said.

"We need the business community to embrace recycling because if you don't, we won't meet the 15 percent guideline," he said.

In the first six months of this year, the county recycled 7 percent of its waste, he said. Last year, Carroll recycled 5.1 percent, he said.

* Clean Air Act -- "Through this act, they are going to change your lives," said James E. Slater, director of the county Office of Environmental Services.

The federal act, which was amended substantially in 1990, requires the Baltimore area to reduce air pollution.

One way to do this is to require some workers to commute together, he said.

By 1996, governments and companies with 100 or more employees will have to show they've reduced the number of employee trips to work by 25 percent.

On Sept. 15, Leslie Sipes of the Maryland Department of the Environment is scheduled to speak in Westminster about commuting.

The talk is co-sponsored by the county and the chamber.

The time and place have not yet been set.

* Water quality -- Carroll generally has good water, but it can't be taken for granted, county hydro-geologist Tom Devilbiss said.

Businesses and residents often are dependent on water supplies that aren't in their immediate area, he said. The county works to prevent problems that might cause loss of water supplies, he said.

"Water quality protection has to be a community effort. I'd like to encourage all of you to be involved," Mr. Devilbiss added.

* Underground storage tanks -- State law requires that steps be taken to ensure that commercial tanks for petroleum, hazardous chemicals and heating oil don't leak, county public works Director Keith Kirschnick said.

The county owned 27 underground tanks, six of which will be replaced, he said.

Thirteen others will be abandoned and replaced with aboveground tanks, he said, adding that no decision has been made about the remaining tanks.

The chamber has formed an environmental committee to help keep its members informed about changes in environmental laws, Executive Director Helen Utz said.

Westminster Realtor Georgia Hoff is chairing the committee.

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