Waste-to-energy burner weighed for Fort Meade Unit could handle Arundel's trash


County trash would be converted into steam and electricity for the National Security Agency if the federal government decides to build a waste-to-energy incinerator at Fort Meade.

Jerry Volker, a spokesman for the NSA, said the agency is considering such an incinerator to replace its "antiquated" steam plant and to provide a back-up electrical generator. The agency receives its primary power from Baltimore Gas & Electric.

The NSA has hired STV/Lyon Associates, a Baltimore-based environmental consulting firm, to study the feasibility of constructing an incinerator on a portion of Fort Meade near the agency's central boiler plant. The NSA is located at the intersection of Route 32 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

Tom Neel, director of the county Department of Utilities, said the county also has commissioned a feasibility study for the NSA through the Maryland Northeast Waste Disposal Authority, a public agency which provides the counties with expertise in solid waste disposal.

Mr. Neel said STV/Lyon report is looking primarily at potential sites for the project. The authority's study is examining how large a facility would be needed, what it would cost and how much trash it would be required to burn to meet NSA's needs, he said.

Anne Arundel County Executive Robert R. Neall commissioned the study last year only as a courtesy for NSA officials because the county is a member of the Northeast Waste Disposal Authority.

He said the county is not paying for the study.

The county, which is preparing a solid waste master plan, is considering incineration as an alternative to landfills, Mr. Neel said, but has made no commitment to the NSA.

Mr. Neel said the Metropolitan Council of Governments, which also includes Anne Arundel County, commissioned the Northeast Waste Disposal Authority two months ago to study regional solutions to trash disposal. The NSA, which sits close to the border of Howard and Anne Arundel counties, would seem a natural for such regional considerations.

But Mr. Neel said county officials "feel strongly that if [the NSA incinerator] is built, that we would control it."

Preliminary estimates show the NSA waste-to-energy plant would require 1,700 tons of trash per day, Mr. Neel said. Anne Arundel County generates about 1,300 tons per day.

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