Cited by state, zoo halts manure dumps by stream

December 30, 1992|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Staff Writer

Reacting to a citation from state environmental officials, the Baltimore Zoo has stopped dumping tons of foul-smelling animal waste at a city-owned site near the Jones Falls, zoo officials said yesterday.

The citation, issued last week by the state Department of the Environment, accuses the City's Recreation and Parks Department of improperly storing tons of zoo manure on the western bank of the Jones Falls. State inspectors did not see manure running into the stream, but they were concerned that runoff from the site would pollute the stream.

Zoo officials said two areas are under consideration for a temporary site and a permanent site is expected to be chosen by June.

One of the areas being considered as a temporary storage site is near the zoo's maintenance and carpentry shed and the other is an obsolete parking lot, said Bill Carter, director of finance and administration for the zoo.

Ken Strong, the zoo's recycling coordinator, said a a huge bin may be constructed to hold the dung once a permanent site is selected. The zoo's 402 animals and 658 birds produce about 126 tons of manure in six months, Mr. Strong added.

The old storage site was located at a city-run recycling compound at Cold Spring Lane and the Jones Falls Expressway, which was also used to mulch leaves and trees collected from city parks.

State officials charged that bacteria from the dung could easily wash into the stream, causing pollution that could lead to a loss of oxygen needed by fish to survive.

Zoo officials met on Monday with officials of the city Department of Recreation and Parks to discuss the problem. The temporary storage site is expected to be chosen next week, Mr. Carter said.

The zoo is operated by the Maryland Zoological Society, a nonprofit company, and funded in part by the state.

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