Landfill neighbors oppose proposed trash pit

June 28, 1994|By Andrea Siegel | Andrea Siegel,Sun Staff Writer

Neighbors of Anne Arundel County's landfill near Millersville told state officials last night that they do not want the county to locate a proposed trash pit less than 1,000 feet from their homes.

The informational meeting, which drew about 50 people to Arundel High School, was sponsored by the Maryland Department of the Environment as a prelude to formal hearings that it eventually will hold on the county's plan.

The county wants its last two trash pits to reach 240 feet above mean sea level.

The neighborhood opposes the height, which is within a few feet of another trash mountain and about as high as a nearby natural eminence.

The county says its proposal will allow it to dispose of trash at the landfill until 2008.

Previous plans called for nothing higher than 226 feet. One trash pit is in the planning stage and the other was opened in October 1992 by state order to force the county into compliance with environmental laws.

The county's permit application shows that the east side of what would be the last trash pit would be situated less than 500 feet from some homes.

"It's a key word -- siting. Do you consider the siting part of the permit?" asked George Tabak, who heads the Millersville Landfill Advisory Committee.

But Edward Dexter, chief of the MDE Solid Waste Compliance Division, said the state does not get involved in what is perceived as local zoning and land use issues.

Health, environmental issues and safety are its determining factors, he said.

"Why don't you get involved?" Mr. Tabak said. "You are our protectors."

Residents questioned the ability of the state to protect them, saying that in the past it had allowed the county to fill between trash mounds that were not lined safely.

The landfill near Millersville has a troubled past that includes contaminant leaks and the piling of trash at least 50 feet higher than its permit allowed.

Just last week, county officials said they found Freon-like chemicals seeping out of the eastern side of the landfill.

"Why are we always building bigger and higher at the landfill?" said Donna Pucciarella, whose house is less than 1,000 feet from the proposed trash pit.

She complained that the county is not living up to its own rules.

The county's law office ruled that the 1,000-foot buffer does not apply in this circumstance.

Ms. Pucciarella said she already gets an earful from the beeping of truck horns at the 567-acre facility, and they are more than 1,000 feet from her home.

She said she bought the house with the expectation that the county would honor the 1,000-foot buffer.

Other residents complained that truck traffic, sea gulls and foul odors have been problems.

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