Arundel, Balto. Co. likely to OK composting plant

March 30, 1995|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Sun Staff Writer

Anne Arundel and Baltimore county officials are expected to approve next month an agreement that would clear the way for construction of a $5.9 million regional composting plant near Jessup for yard debris from those counties and Howard County.

Howard officials already have approved the unprecedented pact. Previous attempts by large suburban Maryland counties to cooperate on waste disposal have flopped, with no jurisdiction willing to take another's debris.

Anne Arundel's administration is to introduce the 20-year agreement at the County Council meeting Monday, said James Pittman, the county's deputy solid waste chief. That is the same day Baltimore County officials are to vote on it. Anne Arundel County Council members are expected to vote April 17.

The Howard County Council earlier this month approved legislation calling for construction of the facility, scheduled to process a minimum of 30,000 tons of yard debris annually for the three counties.

Until last year, leaves, brush and grass clippings were buried in county landfills. But the state outlawed that practice Oct. 1, 1994.

The jointly owned composting facility would be built on a 54-acre site near Dorsey Road in the Howard County portion of Jessup under the auspices of the Maryland Environmental Service.

Howard County, which approved the pact March 6, agreed to send a minimum of 8,000 tons a year to the facility. Baltimore County will be obligated to deposit at least 7,000 tons each year, about one-third of its total collection.

The operation will have open-air rows of compost about 8 feet wide, 6 to 8 feet high and between 50 and 200 feet long, according to the Maryland Environmental Service. The quasi-governmental agency is designing and building the plant in Howard County.

The compost rows periodically will be turned by a machine. Yard waste becomes compost in about 120 to 180 days, depending on the weather.

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