Fort Meade objects to incinerator plan NSA wants studies of 3 sites there

February 15, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

Fort Meade officials don't want a waste-to-energy plant designed to serve as a backup power source for the National Security Agency on their post, they have confirmed.

But preliminary plans are going forward anyway, as the NSA, located on the western edge of the post, and its consulting firm have decided to focus on three Fort Meade sites for further feasibility and environmental studies.

Jerry Volker, a spokesman for NSA, cautioned that the sites -- which he said he could not name -- are not necessarily where the incinerator would be built.

"We picked three different sites across the post," he said. "The three may not be feasible at all. We are very early in the process. We are looking at several different ways to meet our need. This is just one of our options."

Mr. Volker said that it could be summer before officials are ready to decide whether to build the plant, and several years until construction might begin.

"All we are looking for is a facility to provide backup power to our complex," Mr. Volker said. "If a waste-to-energy facility proves feasible, we will go with that."

The Baltimore Metropolitan Council, which announced last week a formal agreement for the city and its five suburban counties to develop a regional solid waste master plan by year's end, has suggested that the area near NSA would be a prime site for a waste-to-energy facility.

Fort Meade officials have raised their concerns at a series of meetings with officials from NSA, the county and the Northeast Waste Disposal Authority -- a public agency that provides counties with expertise on solid waste disposal and is studying regional solutions to getting rid of trash.

Julius Simms, a Fort Meade spokesman, said that Col. Kent D. Menser, the garrison commander, opposes an incinerator because it would not fit long-term plans of turning the post into an administrative complex emphasizing military intelligence gathering and education.

"Such a facility would not be compatible with the installation," Mr. Simms said, adding that the base commander also opposes the three sites chosen by NSA for the environmental studies.

But Mr. Simms said he did not know the exact locations of those sites.

"This is no feud between the NSA and Fort Meade," he said. "[The facility] is just something the agency is looking at."

While the incinerator issue is still being studied, preliminary estimates show the NSA waste-to-energy plant would require 1,700 tons of trash per day.

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