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Harford Board of Estimates approves waste transfer agreement between Harford, Baltimore counties

Plans for a much-protested trash transfer station in Joppa have breathed their last.

The Harford County Board of Estimates recently approved a Municipal Solid Waste Disposal Agreement with Baltimore County and authorized spending nearly $589,000 as the first payment on the local share of a solid waste facility to be built in White Marsh.

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The agreement, which County Executive David Craig announced in late April and the County Council approved in early June, officially allows Harford County to transport its solid waste and recycling to Baltimore County.

Harford officials plan to eventually close the county's Waste Disposal Center in Street, and the Waste-to-Energy incinerator in Joppa is expected to cease operation in 2016.

The agreement approved by the council, Bill 13-23, states a transfer station must be built at Baltimore County's Eastern Sanitary Landfill Solid Waste Management Facility in White Marsh, a short distance south of the county line, to accommodate garbage being trucked out of Harford County.

Harford County would be required to spend $588,650 during the 2015 fiscal year and $4 million during FY2016 toward building that new facility.

Materials separated for recycling will be sent to the Materials Recovery Facility in Cockeysville.

Tom Hilton, deputy director of environmental services for Harford County, told members of the Board of Estimates Thursday the recycling center opened this fall, and recyclable materials will be transported there from Harford County starting in January.

The board approved the agreement 5-0; members Jay Van Deusen, the council's citizen appointee to the board, and Kathryn Hewitt, county treasurer, were absent.

Harford County officials had considered building a solid waste transfer station on the former Plecker property in Joppa, which stirred considerable community opposition.

The agreement with Baltimore County frees Harford from the need to build the transfer station in Joppa. The county still owns the land.

APG land use study

The board of estimates also voted 5-0 to approve a contract totaling slightly more than $388,000 to conduct a joint land use study involving neighboring counties, municipalities and Aberdeen Proving Ground officials to determine how the installation and surrounding communities can grow and develop in harmony.

Karen Holt, BRAC manager with the Chesapeake Science and Security Corridor, which is part of the Harford County Office of Economic Development, told board members that the "community-managed initiative" would be done in conjunction with Harford, Cecil and Kent counties, and the cities of Aberdeen and Havre de Grace.

She said participants in the study would review matters such as compatible uses of land, encroachments and noise ordinances.

"Really [we are] just looking at how, with the installation continuing to grow, are those uses outside the installation compatible as we grow as a community?" Holt said.

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The study is expected to begin in January and take about 12 months to complete.

The Matrix Design Group of Crofton will serve as the consulting firm, with a contract price of $388,090; Matrix staff have also consulted on a similar land-use study regarding the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in St. Mary's County.

Holt said the consultant "is very strong in this area; they've done some great work around the country."

She also said the cost of the study will be paid for through federal grants which her agency receives.

Holt said the staff of the CSSC are "permanent full-time employees" of the county as of July 1, although the agency will continue to receive federal grants through the Office of Economic Adjustment.

New excavator

The board voted 5-0 to spend $328,132 on a Gradall excavator to replace the aging vehicle used by Division of Highways workers to remove debris after major storms.

Warren Patrick, fleet manager for the Department of Procurement, wrote in a memo that the current unit, a 2000 model, has cost more than $26,000 to maintain "to date."

He wrote the county will trade in the unit and receive $10,000. The new vehicle will be purchased from Elliott & Frantz of King of Prussia, Pa.

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