A Carroll County citizens committee that has spent 14 months studying ways to dispose of trash will recommend that the county not build a waste-to-energy incinerator.
None of the 13 members who attended yesterday's meeting of the waste-to-energy study committee spoke out in favor of a local incinerator. However, a majority favored taking county trash to a transfer station where it might be hauled to an incinerator outside the county.
Three opposed having county trash go to any incinerator.
The committee reached consensus agreement on incineration and other solid waste disposal options so a five-member subcommittee can start writing a formal report to the county commissioners. Committee Chairman Lloyd R. Helt Jr. asked for a draft report by May 19.
Options that drew strong consensus support included a municipal composting facility and municipal yard waste composting, although a majority opposed a suggestion to require home owners to compost in their own back yards.
Requiring individuals to compost yard waste at home "is impractical and is going to make the neighborhoods look like hell," said committee member Jacob Yingling. He proposed that haulers should be required to pick up yard waste at least once a month.
Ten of the 13 members favored finding ways to create less waste. Twelve favored more recycling, perhaps with incentives that would reward private refuse haulers financially on the basis of how much recyclable material they pick up. Another suggestion: levy trash collection fees on a per-bag or per-can basis, providing individual residents with economic incentive to reduce the refuse they send to the landfill.
Committee members' objections to incineration ranged from potential air quality problems with emissions from incinerator stacks to cost-effectiveness issues.
"Nobody has ever told us definitively about the short-term or long-range control of emissions," said committee member Arthur Peck, a retired Westminster veterinarian.
The committee began work when the commissioners appointed 25 county residents in January 1993 to study whether to build an incinerator that would burn trash and generate electricity.