Carroll's Waste-To-Energy committee yesterday began studying whether the county should build an incinerator.
Some 20 of the committee's 25 members attended the 90-minute meeting, in which the commissioners reiterated the group's charges. These include:
* Considering short- and long-term environmental issues related to incinerators and landfills.
* Examining legal and regulatory issues.
* Comparing the costs of continued landfilling with a combination of burning and landfilling.
* Considering whether an incinerator would serve only Carroll or a number of counties.
The commissioners urged the committee to tour a waste-to-energy plant near Lancaster, Pa., as its first duty.
"In my opinion, that's the first thing you should do," said Commissioner Donald I. Dell.
The committee, however, decided that its members should learn more about waste-to-energy plants -- which produce power by burning trash -- before visiting the Lancaster facility.
Committee member Richard Borkowicz, an engineer for an environmental consulting firm, will present background on waste-to-energy plants at the group's next meeting.
"My concern is if we go to Lancaster, are we going to be educated enough to understand how the facility works?" asked Rachelle Hurwitz, a Uniontown activist and committee member. "I would like to understand how the facility operates and functions beforehand."
Other committee members agreed.
Mr. Dell said the committee should hold public meetings throughout the county to discuss the issue.
"It's for the public good, and the public should be let in on it from the beginning," said Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy.
Commissioner Julia W. Gouge expressed reservations.
"We're looking at tremendous expense," Mrs. Gouge said. "I think we have to understand that. . . . I need to be assured that this is something we can live safely with in the future."
Commissioners said it would take at least five years to get an incinerator on line in Carroll. Both of the county's landfills are expected to reach capacity by the year 2007.
The commissioners set an 18-month deadline for the committee to return to them with a recommendation.