Court ruling may not delay garbage-hauling plan

April 05, 1996|By Dan Morse | Dan Morse,SUN STAFF

This week's Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruling overturning county approval of a proposed trash transfer station in Howard County will not necessarily delay county plans to start shipping garbage out of the county next year.

The reason is that the county might select a waste hauler other than Browning-Ferris Industries, the company proposing the transfer station off U.S. 1 on Cemetery Lane in Elkridge.

The county is taking bids from Browning-Ferris and other companies for the trash-hauling contract.

"It may be moot if the bids come in and Browning-Ferris doesn't get" the garbage-hauling contract, Darrel Drown, chairman of the Howard County Council, said of Wednesday's court ruling.

The court ruling speaks only to Browning-Ferris' proposed transfer station, which would receive trash from Howard, Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Harford counties, and from Baltimore.

The company would compact the trash into 25-ton loads and ship it to landfills in Virginia and West Virginia. Browning-Ferris would run the transfer station 24 hours a day, according to the court ruling.

As part of Howard's plan for hauling garbage, the county recently accepted bids from three waste-disposal companies, and Browning-Ferris didn't make the low bid, county and company officials said.

Waste Management of Maryland-Baltimore's bid was lowest, said Ed Ward, a division president with that company, and Steve Hudgins of Howard's Public Works Department. Waste Management has two transfer stations in Baltimore County, Mr. Ward said.

Because of technical problems with the bidding process, the county will rebid the contracts, county and company officials said.

Community activist Ron Tilkins of Elkridge said yesterday that he was delighted with the Court of Special Appeals ruling, which is likely to give him and his neighbors a second chance to fight the proposed Browning-Ferris waste transfer station.

The court faulted the County Council over its handling of a 10-year solid-waste plan passed two years ago.

The council said the county "will" build a trash transfer station but changed "will" to "shall" and recognized the potential for Browning-Ferris to build a transfer station in Elkridge but didn't adequately notify the public of the changes, the court ruled.

"I will be there to testify against it," said Mr. Tilkins, past president of the Elkridge Community Association, who said he is worried about "smell, rats, trash blowing and the trucks" from the proposed station.

If the matter is sent back to the County Council for reconsideration -- as the Court of Special Appeals has recommended -- Browning-Ferris will have to contend with two new council members who were not on the five-member council two years ago: Dennis R. Schrader of North Laurel and Mary C. Lorsung of West Columbia.

Mr. Drown and fellow council member C. Vernon Gray said the public was adequately notified about all transfer station proposals.

"That was monkey business," Mr. Drown said of the court ruling. "We had all kinds of public hearings. I guess we didn't dot an 'i' or cross a 't'."

Browning-Ferris and county officials could appeal the ruling to the Maryland Court of Appeals. They had no comment yesterday on that possibility.

Pub Date: 4/05/96

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