The draft of a solid waste-management plan that went to Carroll County's commissioners for comment yesterday emphasizes landfills, estimates recycling conservatively and excludes some Hoods Mill landfill capacity from county planning.
County governments are required to keep solid waste-management plans on file with the state government. The Maryland Department of the Environment ordered counties in 1991 to update their solid waste plans to reflect the impact of recycling.
Meanwhile, the commissioners have a waste-to-energy committee studying the feasibility of a trash-burning incinerator. If the county chooses to build an incinerator, it will have to revise its solid waste plan.
A 1991 letter from former Environment Secretary Robert Perciasepe advised the county that MDE will rely on updated solid waste-management plans in deciding whether to issue permits for new or expanded facilities.
James E. Slater, head of the county's environmental services office, said the draft plan depends on landfills because they are the county's current trash disposal method.
He said he estimated recycling at 15 percent, the legal minimum the county must meet after Jan. 1, despite voluntary recycling efforts that generally exceed 15 percent.
"If I projected 20 percent and we fell back to 15 percent, we'd be short," Mr. Slater told the commissioners.
The possibility of dropping below projections raised the prospect that the commissioners would have to make recycling mandatory for county residents, a prospect that prompted a "no, thanks" from Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy.
Mr. Slater said he did not include about 10 years' worth of landfill capacity at Hoods Mill in his projections because "we have kept that in abeyance in case you change your minds or want to use that [acreage] for composting."
Mr. Slater said including the additional landfill capacity in projections could make the county government complacent about solid waste disposal.
He recommended that if the commissioners decide to continue using the landfill, the county should start looking for a site in 1996, because it takes a minimum of 10 years to find a site and get permits.
Counting the Hoods Mill acreage would put off from the year 2006 to 2016 the estimated time that the county's landfills reach capacity.