Harford County Councilman Jim McMahan wants the existing waste-to-energy incinerator in Joppa to be considered for the site for the county's planned trash transfer station once the incinerator closes in 2016.

But the suggestion was quickly scotched by County Executive David Craig, who says "it won't happen."

The discussion about the controversial transfer station took place Thursday morning, as the Harford County Board of Estimates approved a study of uses for 13-acre waste-to-energy facility at Aberdeen Proving Ground, which will determine any alternatives the county has razing the structure located off Route 152 just inside the federal institution's perimeter.

"What are they [APG] going to do with their trash?" McMahan asked. "This is an ideal spot for a transfer station. How can we get that addressed?"

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Dan Pazdersky, with the department of public works, said APG doesn't have much trash to begin with.

Craig chimed in and said he didn't think the county could get such a proposal addressed by the Army, which owns the land where the incinerator is located and buys its steam, but also doesn't want the county owned and operated incinerator to continue.

"They [the Army] don't want the facility anymore," Pazdersky said.

McMahan stuck with it, however, saying: "It makes no sense to tear down that building."

Craig reiterated that the federal government is paying for the facility because it is their land. McMahan then repeated that he wanted to see what the county could do to use the site.

Public Works Director Bob Cooper agreed with Craig, saying the Army would never go for the county using the site for a trash transfer station. The county plans to locate the transfer station near the I-95/Route 152 interchange in Joppa, but that plan has area residents up in arms.

"I think we need to be more aggressive with the Army and get [Congressman]Dutch [Ruppersberger] in on this," McMahan said. He said Ruppersberger already has met with Councilman Dion Guthrie on the matter. Guthrie represents the area along Route 7 where the transfer station is proposed.

"It's not on our property," Craig responded.

"You make things happen, David," McMahan said, asking if a long-term lease on the APG site would be an option.

"It's not going to happen," Craig replied.

Pazdersky said county will be paying for the cost of tearing down the incinerator, which will be several million dollars. Finding an alternative to razing the building could save considerable money.

Which prompted board member Warren Hamilton to ask that if the point of the study is to come up with alternatives to razing the building, couldn't McMahan's suggestion be one of them.

Craig said it could, but the Army will still turn down

"It's basically changing the question you already know the answer to," he said.

The board went ahead an approved the $135,000 study contract with Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority, the county's partner in the incinerator.

The study will need to be completed by Aug. 31, Pazdersky said.