County wants more time for landfill work 51 extra days sought to finish disposal area


Anne Arundel County wants 51 extra days to open an environmentally safe disposal area at the troubled Millersville Landfill.

The Maryland Department of the Environment ordered the county last month to open a new, plastic-lined disposal area, or cell, by Sept. 12 to prevent pollutants from seeping into ground water.

But Thomas Neel, director of the county Department of Utilities, has asked to extend the deadline to Nov. 2. The county will need at least 37 additional days to complete construction of the $10 million liner, he said in a May 15 report to MDE. The county also would like another 14 days to advertise, price and hire private contractors who specialize in landfills, he said.

Still more time may be required if foul weather delays construction, he said. Construction should begin by mid-June.

MDE spokesman John Goheen said the state is reviewing the county's request and will respond by June 15.

Citing chronic violations of the landfill's operating permit, the state ordered the county on April 15 to take immediate steps to bring the Burns Crossing Road facility into compliance. Chiefly, the state gave the county 150 days to replace its existing unprotected disposal areas with a new, lined cell or close the landfill.

The order also demanded better compliance with state erosion-control laws. Neel said last week that the county has been spending $20,000 a day regrading abandoned trash mounds to comply with those laws and to reduce the rainwater that soaks through the trash carrying pollutants into ground water.

The county discovered toxic chemicals, commonly associated with cleaning solvents, in 1985 in two monitoring wells at the center of the landfill. Similar chemicals were found last month in 15 nearby residential wells, including four which exceeded federal drinking water standards.

The proposed plastic liner will collect contaminated rainwater in the new disposal area, which then will be sent to a county wastewater treatment plant. Eventually, the county will build a treatment plant at the landfill.

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