Limits on rubble landfills are approved by council

February 18, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

The County Council last night approved a bill regulating rubble landfills that accept materials from construction sites.

The bill, which was written over three years with the help of a citizen task force, is an attempt to balance the need for such landfills with environmental and operating controls that minimize annoyance to nearby residents.

"I think this bill is way ahead of any other county near us," said Councilwoman Virginia P. Clagett, the bill's sponsor.

The bill becomes law in 45 days.

There are two active rubble landfills in the county and two companies have filed applications with the Board of Appeals. A fifth company, Reliable Contracting in Millersville, has a landfill that handles only its own construction debris.

The bill requires that landfill neighbors be shielded from the operations. It also regulates sediment and erosion control, limits the hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and sets standards for landfill closure.

Before the vote, Ms. Clagett recalled the long process of drafting and amending the bill, saying that the county ended up with a better bill as a result.

"I think it's been a very good legislative process," she said. "Before voting 'Aye,' I'd like to thank the committee, which I think is the longest standing committee that we've had."

The West River Democrat said she would introduce a resolution in the next month to extend the life of the advisory committee of residents and industry representatives to help with the implementation of the law. That way, "any citizen or the industry may come before it with any problems that should arise with the legislation," she said.

Questions had been raised about the constitutionality of an amendment to the bill that called for extensive ground water studies before the approval of a new landfill because it would conflict with the role of the state Department of the Environment.

County Attorney Judson P. Garrett assured the council that there would be no such constitutional conflict.

Council Chairman David G. Boschert, who sponsored the amendment, said the ground water testing provisions made the rubble landfill bill "a better bill for the health, safety and welfare for the citizens of this county."

Later last night, the council was to vote on a major government reorganization proposed by County Executive Robert R. Neall.

The bill would establish a structure for upper-level departments and offices as the first step in a reorganization that could cost more than 100 employees their jobs.

The council also was to vote on Councilwoman Maureen Lamb's bill that would limit smoking to designated areas in most public spaces.

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