Rubble trouble 'Dumping ground': Anne Arundel officials rightly wary of another landfill for debris.

October 27, 1997

GOV. PARRIS N. GLENDENING warns that Maryland is becoming the "dumping grounds" for out-of-state construction debris because the cost of dumping in Maryland is less expensive than in surrounding states. Although new, tougher environmental standards may douse the incentive to import rubble here, the Anne Arundel County Council did the right thing this month by not including the much-debated Chesapeake Terrace rubble landfill in its Solid Waste Management Plan. The council recognized that many issues remain unsettled about the proposal. This battle, however, is far from over.

National Waste Managers Inc., the developer of Chesapeake Terrace, wants to be included in the solid waste plan. If it is, the company will have greater leverage to obtain the state and county environmental and zoning permits it needs to operate. National Waste has already gone to court, and won at the Circuit Court level. The county has appealed the decision.

The county's strongest argument is that no compelling evidence shows the need for another rubble fill. PST Reclamation's landfill in Lothian has sufficient capacity to handle construction debris well into the next century. Near Crofton, a permitted rubble fill is waiting for approvals to expand. The county-owned Millersville landfill can accept construction debris, but the tipping fees are higher and contractors don't generally use it.

Like prisons and sewage treatment plants, rubble fills are among those unfortunate necessities of modern society. When you build something, you need a place to get rid of the material that's dug up. Although the disposal of rubble must be included in the county's solid waste management plan, there is no requirement that all these dumps be in the county. The solid waste plan can call for disposing of construction debris in adjacent jurisdictions or out of state. Anne Arundel is currently shipping one-third of its household rubbish to a gigantic landfill in southern Virginia. The garbage game has changed a great deal in recent years, with some towns more than happy to profit from taking someone else's trash.

Anne Arundel is not one of those places. Permitting more rubble fills to accommodate debris from neighboring states is not worth the havoc it wreaks on county communities.

Pub Date: 10/27/97

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