Corps won't revoke BGE permit to dispose of fly ash at Solley site

March 21, 1998|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF

An Army Corps of Engineers official told a community meeting yesterday that the corps will not revoke the permit it gave Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. six years ago to dump fly ash in wetlands in their neighborhood.

Maj. J. T. Hand of the Baltimore corps listened as two independent engineers gave an hourlong presentation about possible health risks and environmental concerns, then said he "did not hear anything today that suggests we should revoke the permit."

Asked later what it would take for the corps to revoke the permit, Hand said, "Maybe if somebody came forward saying there was a rise in cancer but I'm not going to second-guess a decision made six years ago."

Corps spokesman Doug Garman amended that statement later, saying the corps would consider taking away the permit if it is shown proof of increased heavy metal or other signs that water was contaminated by fly ash.

During the presentation in the basement of Solley United Methodist Church in northern Anne Arundel County, engineer Donald Cohen said his research has shown increased cadmium at water testing sites on BGE's property since 1981.

When Cohen was finished, Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, who arranged the meeting but did not invite BGE officials, said, "After reviewing all the information I just heard, if my conclusion in the next week remains what it is now, I will ask the corps to revoke the permit."

Solley-area residents have been fighting BGE's disposal of fly ash -- a byproduct of burning coal for electricity -- since 1982.

Pub Date: 3/21/98

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