Rubble fill accepted too much waste Site exceeded state height limit

October 04, 1992|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer

An Abingdon rubble fill that was shut down by the state in August because its operators had not filed a current topographical map accepted too much waste, state records show.

Spencer Sand & Gravel Inc., where tests have revealed high levels of suspected carcinogens in monitoring wells, was ordered to stop accepting rubble Aug. 6, the day its request to renew the operating permit was formally denied.

But a current topographical map -- which shows the height and slope of the rubble -- obtained by the Maryland Department of the Environment after the closing shows the level of rubble at the 51-acre site exceeded height limitations set by the permit, MDE Secretary Robert S. Perciasepe wrote in a Sept. 25 letter to Harford County Council President Jeffrey D. Wilson.

Other state records show MDE knew in July that Spencer also had placed rubble on 7.5 acres of land that were not included in the area covered under its operating permit.

However, Bill Geary, a spokesman for Spencer, said MDE has known about the additional 7.5 acres of rubble for more than four years.

"We didn't hide anything, we told them when we were aware of it," said Mr. Geary. "I don't understand why it's an issue now."

But in a letter July 17, 1992, Edward M. Dexter, acting chief of MDE's Solid Waste Enforcement Division, ordered Spencer to stop filling the 7.5-acre area and to submit a plan for removing and/or closing out that area. That plan is due next month.

"We're focusing on the over-filled area, and we plan to tell the Spencer [Sand & Gravel] that once again they must submit a closure plan," said Richard W. Collins, director for MDE's Hazardous and Solid Waste Management administration.

"I've also got some documented dirty wells that have to be cleaned up, some documented odor problems and the over-filled areas that have to be addressed," said Mr. Collins.

He is investigating whether the company's depositing of rubble on the 7.5-acre area was illegal. Spencer has maintained it was done while the company was operating under a consent order from 1981 until its state permit was issued in 1987. However, that area was not included in the area covered under the 1987 permit.

Mr. Collins said the agency has put on hold for the moment Spencer's application to expand its rubble fill by 18 acres, which would cover the 7.5 acre area in dispute.

"Now if we are not issued a new permit for those 18 acres it !! could be a problem, but that [a new permit] would take care of it," said Mr. Geary.

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