Yard waste isn't all to end up in park SOUTHWEST -- Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield,

COMPOST PILE TURNS INTO HEAP OF TROUBLE

October 01, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

It was such an environmentally correct thing to do.

Two years ago, Mount Airy's recycling committee started a compost pile in Prospect Park for town residents to dispose of yard waste. The idea was to reduce the amount of it that ended up in the landfill.

As an added benefit, Carroll and Frederick counties agreed to grind the compost pile into mulch every month. The mulch was made available to Mount Airy residents at no cost.

The arrangement worked well for a while, but in the past few months the compost pile has become a massive, smelly eyesore.

In addition to yard waste, the pile has become a dumping ground for old furniture, bags of trash, large tree stumps and other refuse.

The mulching equipment in both Carroll and Frederick counties has been broken for the past two months. Meanwhile, the pile has been growing out of control.

"It's like a blob taking over," said Pamela Brewer, a former member of the recycling committee. "It's bringing the park down. . . . It's unsightly and it smells."

David Pyatt, a Mount Airy Town Council member and liaison to the Parks and Recreation Board, said he has received complaints about the growing compost pile.

Park visitors can't avoid the pile while feeding the ducks, and have to walk by it to get to the volleyball and basketball courts.

"It doesn't smell particularly nice when you get back there," Mr. Pyatt said.

In an attempt to manage the overflowing compost pile, the recycling committee has decided to restrict its hours. Also, the town plans to hire a part-time monitor to make sure that those using the pile are Mount Airy residents and that only yard waste is dumped there.

Beginning next week, the compost pile will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. until dusk, Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The pile, which has been open seven days a week, will be closed Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

"It might not be convenient, but it's what we have to do," said Wendi Peters, who chairs the recycling committee. "It's a shame that we have to spend taxpayers' money to clean up what's basically become a dump."

Members of the recycling committee say they're disappointed that some people have used the compost pile as a dumping ground for general refuse, when it was intended for yard waste only.

In addition, landscaping firms from other counties and Mount Airy residents with small lawn service businesses have been using the pile to dump large tree limbs and stumps, which are not meant to go there, said Ms. Brewer.

Despite some setbacks with the compost pile, Mount Airy leads other Carroll and Frederick communities in its recycling efforts.

The town recycles about 40 percent of its trash and won recognition from the Maryland Recyclers Coalition this year for its recycling initiatives, including mandatory curbside recycling.

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