BG&E takes back ash plan Opponents feared piles would be seen from road

September 28, 1993|By John A. Morris and Jody Roesler | John A. Morris and Jody Roesler,Staff Writers

Strong community opposition has caused Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. to withdraw a plan to pile fly ash from its coal-fired generators on the back corner of a Marley Neck industrial park.

However, the electric company will continue to use ash generated at its Brandon Shores and Wagner Point power plants to grade and level building lots at the Brandon Woods Industrial Park, BG&E spokesman John Metzger said.

James J. Cannelli, a planner with the county Department of Planning and Code Enforcement, said the department has received a letter from BG&E asking that its revised grading plan for the Brandon Woods Industrial Park be withdrawn.

BG&E had sought a change in its county-approved grading plan that would allow it to create several undevelopable mounds, thus guaranteeing that it would have space to dispose of fly ash for the next 10 years. Joseph Schreiber of Constellation Properties, BG&E's property development subsidiary, said the plan would have reduced the park's developable area by 30 acres.

Solley residents, elected officials and the developer of a 2,200-home subdivision on Marley Creek opposed the revision, fearing the mounds would be visible from Solley Road and beyond.

By allowing BG&E to build the mounds, the county would force CSX Real Property to halt work on the 610-acre Tanyard Cove subdivision and attempt to return the property to its heavy industrial zoning, said David Lancaster, the company's vice president.

CSX has worked with Anne Arundel County for the past decade to convert Marley Neck from a heavy industrial use to a residential community, Mr. Lancaster said. But the company could not risk investing $10 million to $12 million to build roads, schools and sewage pumping stations if the county approved what he said would amount to a landfill next door.

"We're disappointed the county would consider issuing a permit for what I call 'Mount Ashmore,' " Mr. Lancaster said. "There isn't any question it would be a landfill."

Mary Rosso, a Silver Sands resident who fought for residential zoning a decade ago, said the revision would have turned the industrial park into a "a fly ash park," changing the character of the area. She said she feared it could create severe runoff problems because the ash is impermeable, flooding neighboring yards and polluting Cox and Nabbs creeks with eroding soil.

Mrs. Rosso, president of the Maryland Waste Coalition, a nonprofit environmental group, said she and other residents felt betrayed by BG&E, which had promised the community it would limit the amount of fly ash used at Brandon Woods.

The Brandon Shores and Wagner Point power plants generate 400,000 tons of fly ash per year. At that rate, the electric company will run out of room to dispose of ash at the Brandon Woods site within five years and have to search for a new disposal site, said Glen Nilsen, a BG&E engineer.

Mounding ash on about 30 acres in the southeast corner of the industrial park -- an area known as the Chestnut Hill Farm property -- would have guaranteed BG&E a place to dispose of its ash for an additional four years, Mr. Nilsen said.

He said the company also attempts to market its ash as a building material, but demand has dwindled because of the poor economy.

He said the mounds would not have been visible from Solley Road, a point that residents and others contested.

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