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Hopkins rejects county's invitation to take over Sudley Landfill


Despite pressure to find a site for Annapolis residents' trash, Mayor Alfred Hopkins has rejected an offer to take over the operation of the Sudley Landfill from the county.

Mr. Hopkins informed County Executive Robert R. Neall of his decision in a letter Aug. 6.

He cited fears that the city could be held legally and financially responsible for ground water contaminated by the 10-year-old landfill while it was operated by the county.

The city-owned landfill in Crownsville is nearing capacity and must be closed by Dec. 31.

City officials have asked the county either to allow them to expand their 85-acre landfill or to accept city trash at the county landfill.

The county has also asked the state for an additional 17 days to build an environmentally safe disposal area at the Millersville Landfill.

The Maryland Department of the Environment had given the county until Sept. 12 to install a double-layered plastic trash liner to prevent rain water from washing pollutants from the trash into the ground.

The liner was delivered about a month ago, but heavy summer rains have made the ground too soft to install it, said Judy Vollmar, a county Department of Utilities spokeswoman.

If Hurricane Andrew generates additional rain this week, the county could request still more time, Ms. Vollmar said.

Utilities Director Tom Neel has considered closing the Sudley Landfill since his department took over the county's Solid Waste Bureau this spring.

The county is wasting money operating both the 166-acre landfill near Deale and the 585-acre Millersville Landfill, he has said.

Pollutants associated with household and industrial cleaners have been found in ground-water monitoring wells beneath both the Millersville and Sudley landfills.

Mr. Neel said yesterday that he never made city officials "a formal offer," but that he asked whether they would be interested in using Sudley during a "brain-storming" session.

Sudley and the city landfill both accept about 125 tons of trash per day, he said.

Sudley Landfill, which is not yet half full, will have a longer life than an expanded city landfill, Mr. Neel said, and much of the engineering needed to install a protective liner there has been completed.

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