BFI told to devise plan for disposing of water

September 25, 1994|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Sun Staff Writer

State environmental officials have given Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) three weeks to figure out what to do with ground water from its closed hazardous waste landfill on Solley Road where environmental protections are failing.

Dane Bauer, deputy director of the Maryland Department of the Environment's (MDE) water management administration, told officials of the nation's second-largest waste hauler at a meeting Friday morning to "lay out a strategy for what is the best option at this time," he said.

Meanwhile, state officials pressed Anne Arundel County to allow the company to pump the water, which has been stripped of pollutants, into a county wastewater treatment plant.

"Some folks from the state came down here," said Thomas Andrews, the county's chief environmental officer. "They specifically requested could they tie into the sanitary sewer."

But local public works officials have balked, fearing that it would interfere with sewage treatment operations.

John M. Brusnighan, county director of public works, said BFI told him it would pump up to 150,000 gallons a day -- equivalent to sewage from 600 houses -- into the plant, reducing its capacity for new homes and businesses as they are developed.

The landfill was closed in 1982. Since then, contaminated ground water has been discovered moving west toward Marley Creek at more than twice the rate state officials anticipated. A second plume of contamination was discovered this spring.

Last year, BFI installed a system to strip solvents from contaminated ground water and reinject treated water into the aquifer, but the reinjection would not work, and the company stopped in March.

Since then, BFI has been paying to truck the treated water away, but wants to come up with a less costly solution.

The firm proposed in August discharging the treated water into an intermittent stream that empties into Marley Creek, but community leaders and elected officials objected.

"I don't care if they haul it away forever," said Del. Joan Cadden, who represents the area. "I definitely do not want it pumped onto the land anywhere near Marley Creek."

She and other community members suggested sending the water to the Cox Creek wastewater treatment plant.

MDE asked the county to consider taking the treated water largely because of public outcry over BFI's request to discharge it into the stream.

"It was preferred by the citizens and people who showed up at the public hearing," Mr. Bauer said.

While county officials are not happy with the prospect of pumping so much additional water into a wastewater plant, they have agreed to continue talks with state and BFI officials, Mr. Andrews said.

No new dates for discussions have been set, however.

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