Waste facility would bring savings, firm says BFI seeks Zoning Board's OK for Elkridge station

March 06, 1997|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

It could cost Howard County more money to ship its trash to Anne Arundel County if a proposed transfer station in Elkridge is not approved, said representatives of a waste-management company at a Zoning Board hearing last night.

Browning-Ferris Inc. has asked the board to approve the transfer station to be built on a 17-acre site on Cemetery Lane off U.S. 1 in Elkridge. A transfer station consolidates and prepares trash for transport to a landfill.

On Monday, the county began shipping its residential waste to an Annapolis Junction transfer station -- 5 miles from the proposed BFI site -- owned by Houston-based USA Waste, which then trucks the trash to a landfill in King George, Va.

The county's three-year, $3.6 million contract with USA Waste calls for a $33 tipping fee for each ton of residential trash disposed of there. Businesses must provide for their own trash disposal and USA Waste charges them $42 a ton.

But John Del Roccili, an economist hired by BFI, testified last night that the lack of nearby competition for disposing of Howard's trash invites a price increase.

He said he compared the proposed transfer station with ones in Annapolis Junction and Cockeysville and concluded that it would cost a business about $58 a ton to dump trash in Cockeysville because of the $45 tipping fee and the estimated $13 transportation cost. "Because the transportation costs of going somewhere else would be high, USA Waste can charge high prices," Del Roccili said.

"This hearing has the ability of instituting a more competitive environment for Howard County" if the BFI transfer station is approved, he said.

But attorneys for opponents disputed Del Roccili's figures and testimony, saying they were speculative and unreliable because they were based on BFI's data.

At a 7 p.m. hearing today, opponents -- residents and businesses -- will begin presenting their case.

Opponents argue that the transfer station will be out of place in an area of residences and office parks and will increase truck traffic on busy U.S. 1.

The county zoning and planning boards first approved the BFI proposal in 1994. An appeal by owners of a neighboring industrial park reached the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which ruled in April that the zoning panel had been wrong to give BFI the go-ahead because the county did not properly notify the public of changes in the proposal. BFI renewed its request last year.

Pub Date: 3/06/97

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