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Army seeks council's OK for 10-acre landfill at APG


The U.S. Army is asking the County Council to add a 10-acre rubble fill at Aberdeen Proving Ground to Harford's solid-waste management plan so it can get state approval for the dump.

State environment officials told the Army last year they would suspend reviews of the rubble fill proposal until the Army had the proposed dump added to the management plan. The plan establishes where waste facilities can be located in the county and what they can accept.

The state also wants the Army to prove that the dump will meet Harford zoning laws.

"We have received neither of the two items," said John Goheen, spokesman for the state Department of the Environment. "The process right now is stalled."

However, the Environment Department issued a consent order in February allowing the Army to dump rubble at the site until the end of the year or until the agency grants the permit, whichever comes first.

Plans for the rubble fill, introduced five years ago to the state, are in the last of a three-stage series of reviews by the department, Goheen said.

A required public hearing on the dump has not been scheduled.

The Army filed its application to have the rubble fill added to the county solid-waste plan in May. Council President Jeffrey Wilson said he is not certain when the council will consider the Army's request.

The proposed rubble fill is off Bush River and Airbase Loop roads in the Aberdeen area of the proving ground. Construction and demolition debris would be dumped there.

The fill, to be called the Phillips Army Airfield Rubble Landfill, would not accept waste from outside the military installation, the Army says in its application to the county.

There are no industrial or residential areas within 2,500 feet of

the dump, which is next to a wooded area and an open field, according to the Army's application. The dump is about 2 miles from the Aberdeen city line.

The Army wants to dump 50 cubic yards of waste a day at the rubble fill, the application says. The dump is expected to take a total of 216,000 cubic yards of waste during its proposed 12-year life span.

Army officials have provided Harford officials with detailed reports about the rubble fill, but the county may not have much authority over the facility.

"While APG is a federal enclave, and is not required to comply with county zoning requirements, . . . APG will attempt to meet the basic requirements imposed by the county," Michael F. Flannery Jr., director of APG's Safety, Health and Environment agency, wrote to the county.

"[The Army] cannot allow for the county to have final approval authority on plans which directly concern the exclusive federal jurisdiction at APG," Flannery wrote.

The Army said it will comply with many county standards for the rubble fill because it shares the same regulations, such as those requiring fences around the dump and regular inspections of waste being brought to the dump.

APG has operated a landfill adjacent to the site of the new rubble fill since 1950. Only construction debris was dumped at the facility between 1971 and when it was closed in 1980.

"Prior to 1971, usage is not well documented," according to a tTC 1989 report by the U.S. Army Engineer District of Baltimore. "Detailed information about the types of wastes disposed of in the past is scanty."

Two other landfills, a burning pit and at least two grease pits are near the new dump, the engineering report says.

According to the report, tests at three of 10 monitoring wells around the site showed traces of some chemical compounds, including trichloroethylene and dichloroethylene -- two suspected carcinogens.

Levels of each compound are below the maximum allowed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

"All available ground water data indicate that [the landfill] is not causing any significant contamination," the report says. But the report recommends continued checks on the wells to monitor the contaminants.

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