Delegate Donald B. Elliott, R-Carroll, Howard, withdrew his bill that was intended to tighten state regulations for siting sludge storagefacilities.

"It was obvious it was not a good bill," said Elliott. "I think it is a good concept, but it wasn't right to take a vote. There were too many unanswered questions."

Two major Baltimore-based waste management firms and the Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission opposed the bill. They charged thatit would encourage counties to reject sludge storage plans, leaving sewage treatment plants with limited outlets to dispose of the solid byproduct.

Elliott's bill called for allowing counties to make initial decisions on applications for sludge storage facilities, based on county solid waste plans and zoning and land use requirements. Currently, applications are sent to the state first, although counties can have hearings on the proposals.

Elliott charged that waste management firms "dragged their feet" in efforts to develop the legislation.

The bill -- rejected last year in another form -- was in response to a storage facility built on a Taneytown-area farm that angered local residents, who claimed they were not informed of the project. Sludge commonly is spread on agricultural land as a substitute for fertilizer.

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