Burying the fly ash debate

Anne Arundel: BGE's decision not to use residue as fill should begin better relations with neighbors.

July 16, 1999

BALTIMORE GAS and Electric Co. will finally stop using the recyclable residue from the coal-burning operation at its northern Anne Arundel County business park. That decision should end an old dispute.

The utility and its neighbors have battled for years over fly ash, the powdery gray substance that results when the utility burns coal at its Brandon Shores and H. A. Wagner power plants.

BGE has used four tons of the substance as fill at the nearby business park since 1982.

Neighbors argued that the fly ash dirties porches and threatens underground water and public health.

The utility had the impossible task of proving that fly ash poses no risks. It has pointed to tests by state and federal agencies that gave the substance a clean bill.

FOR THE RECORD - A July 16 editorial incorrectly reported the amount of fly ash that Baltimore Gas and Electric has deposited in Anne Arundel County since 1982. It was 4 million tons, not 4 tons. The Sun regrets the error.

But just as many people who live near electromagnetic fields aren't reassured by research that disputes a link to cancer, many residents of northern Anne Arundel's Solley community weren't convinced that fly ash is benign.

The issue will be moot in a month when BGE says it will stop using fly ash as landfill for its 500-acre Brandon Woods office and industrial park.

The company and its neighbors should now work together to improve relations.

Pub Date: 7/16/99

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