Council remains undecided on solid waste management plan

March 24, 1994|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Sun Staff Writer

After hearing again last night from trash experts hoping to get the county's solid waste business, the Howard County Council seems no closer to approving a solid waste management plan.

"We learned more, but I don't know if we're any closer" to making a decision on how to dispose of the county's trash, Council Chairman C. Vernon Gray, D-3rd, said after a work session on the plan last night.

The council is slated to vote on a solid waste plan on April 4.

Meanwhile, James A. Aiello, vice president for government relations at Ogden Martin Systems, Inc., urged the council to take two years to explore various ways of getting rid of the county's trash, including waste to energy incineration, his company's specialty.

Howard is currently exploring the possibility of sharing a waste-to-energy incinerator with Anne Arundel and Carroll counties, Mr. Aiello told the council.

His company has 25 municipal trash incinerators throughout the United States that are rigorously tested for toxic emissions, he said, and is constructing another one in Montgomery County. None has ever failed an emissions test, he said.

Air emissions from trash incinerators are the most highly regulated in the country, he said, and produce less air emissions than landfills.

One of the economic benefits of incineration is the price stability that comes from offering municipalities 20- to 25-year contracts, Mr. Aiello said. Companies providing other methods of trash removal would offer, at best, a 10-year contract with annual variances, he said.

Tipping fees -- the amount it costs the county to get rid of its trash -- should be close to the $60 a ton

the county charges now to dump trash in its Marriottsville landfill. "Without going through the crucible of a bid, I estimate tipping fees of the 50s or low 60s," Mr. Aiello said. The costs would be in addition to the cost of trash collection, he said.

Attorney John F. Breitenberg, representing Browning-Ferris Industries, Inc., said Mr. Aiello's proposal sounded to him like Alice in Wonderland and Though the Looking Glass.

"I am very dubious about the tipping fees cited with this facility," Mr. Breitenberg said. He said officials in Montgomery told him the trash removal price per resident would increase from $155 this year to more than $300 in 16 months, largely because of trash incineration.

Tipping fees at the Howard landfill are already so high that commercial haulers are taking their trash elsewhere, Mr. Breitenberg said.

Mr. Breitenberg urged the county to export its trash elsewhere. His firm would like the business.

Landfill costs are rapidly escalating, he said, and may soon become the most expensive of all trash removal methods because of environmental problems.

Brian Buccigrossi, of Chambers Development Company, Inc., disagreed. He said his firm is known for its environmentally safe landfills and could provide safe and inexpensive trash disposal for Howard.

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