New dirt-recycling rules to be outlined Earlier plan called too costly


Maryland plans to draw up new rules for recycling dirt tainted by gasoline or oil after the soil-treatment industry complained that proposed rules were too costly.

The state Department of the Environment yesterday withdrew regulations on treating petroleum-contaminated soil at the request of a legislative panel reviewing them.

Residents of Rosedale in eastern Baltimore County and citizens in other parts of the state have objected to soil-treatment plants proposed in their neighborhood. They contend that their air and ground water may become polluted by toxic chemicals in the contaminated dirt, and they have pressed the state to regulate the industry more tightly.

But representatives of the state's soil-treatment industry complained that the proposed rules unveiled last month were unnecessarily stringent. The state had estimated that its requirement to test soil for toxic contaminants before it could be treated would cost businesses $65 to $500 per ton.

Richard Collins, director of hazardous and solid waste, said he plans to meet with representatives of soil-treatment businesses and with citizens to come up with rules more acceptable to industry. Mr. Collins said he plans to propose revisions within two weeks.

There are five soil-treatment businesses now operating in Maryland, including one in East Baltimore and another in Finksburg. They treat petroleum-laced dirt that has been dug up from around leaking underground fuel tanks. Another five plants are planned, most of which would bake or burn the soil to remove petroleum residues before using it in making asphalt, bricks or cement.

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