Dump panel makes scant progress Millersville group also irked at county


Some members of the citizens' advisory committee for the troubled Millersville landfill say they believe six months of debate have produced few results.

At a meeting Tuesday night that included a tour of the 567-acre dump, committee member Ann Lewin handed out a list of three objectives the group should pursue.

"In six months, we have gone nowhere," Ms. Lewin said. "This is a stagnant committee. At some point, we have to come to a common ground. If we can't do that, we might as well disband right now."

The objectives included ultimately closing the landfill and providing free drinking water to homes surrounding the dump until the properties are sold.

Ms. Lewin and others on the 14-member committee complained that the county is taking action without consulting them, making them feel left out of the decision-making process.

Committee members plan to meet in two weeks to draft a list of concerns and goals they want the county to meet.

On Tuesday residents brought up several long-standing issues, such as the height of the landfill, its proximity to homes and how officials have interpreted the special exception allowing the landfill that was granted in 1974.

Faye Scheibe, assistant to Utilities Director Thomas N. Neel, said another countywide committee will be formed to help plan the long-term waste management needs of the county.

County officials said reducing the height of the trash cells must be dealt with in the master planning study and by the new committee.

"If the committee says we are going to export our trash, then that question [of what to do about the cells] is answered," said John Zohlen, deputy director of the solid waste management bureau for the Department of Utilities.

But residents, who want to see immediate action on their concerns about height, didn't agree. And they chastised county officials for halting their search for the source of contamination of four drinking wells at homes near the landfill.

Last week, Mr. Neel said a comprehensive survey proved the landfill is not the source of contaminants. But he could not say what is causing the problems.

While the county has dug new and deeper wells for the four homes, it is not pursing the matter any further.

"The county has said it is not our responsibility to find the source of contamination on private property," Ms. Scheibe said.

Bob Klempa, who lives near the landfill and attends the committee meetings, said the county has a responsibility to pinpoint the source of contamination, even if it is on private property.

"It is self-serving to say the contamination does not come from the landfill," he said. "They should find the problem, because it is a public health issue."

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