If Waste Management Inc. sends Westminster's trash to Pennsylvania, it probably will send trash it collects in four other towns there, too.
Members of the Westminster City Council were told at Monday's meeting that WMI is likely to submit a formal proposal to truck trash it collects in the city to a landfill the corporation owns in York County, at a lower cost to the city.
Thomas B. Beyard, city public works director, said the idea was raised by WMI officials last week.
Doug Baker, who manages WMI's accounts in Carroll County, said the company is looking into using new collection equipment in Carroll.
The system, imported from Europe, uses a single-axle vehicle with removable containers, he said.
When the container is filled with trash, it is dropped off and the truck hooks up to an empty container. Fewer, larger loads go to the landfill.
"This allows you to keep the vehicle on the route rather than running to the landfill," he said.
Waste Management's Montgomery County, Greater Washington and Northern Virginia locations are already using this system, Mr. Baker said. Its use in Carroll is by no means guaranteed, he said.
"At this time, it is just something we threw up in the course of a meeting explaining our vehicles," he said. "It's just food for thought."
Mr. Baker said that if WMI offers the option of transporting trash to its landfill in Pennsylvania rather than using Carroll's Northern Landfill, that option will be offered to all municipalities the company serves.
WMI provides residential trash pickup and residential recycling for Westminster, New Windsor, Union Bridge, Taneytown and Hampstead. The company does not have any individual residential customers.
Mr. Beyard said WMI collected the following amounts of trash from the five towns in June: Hampstead, 98 tons; New Windsor, 33 tons; Taneytown, 97 tons; Union Bridge, 41 tons; and Westminster, 348 tons.
The total -- 617 tons -- is close to the 550 to 600 tons of trash the county landfill accepts in one day, Mr. Beyard said.
He said the joint contract between the municipalities and WMI sets one price for trash collection. Each town then pays a disposal fee, or the amount WMI pays each day at the landfill in tipping fees. The Pennsylvania disposal option mentioned by WMI would be $6 a ton cheaper in disposal fees.
County Commissioners Elmer C. Lippy and Julia W. Gouge, who learned of the plan from Commissioner Donald I. Dell yesterday, said they had no objection to the hauler dumping trash outside the county.
"I don't care if they haul all the trash out of the county," Mr. Lippy
said. "It will help preserve our landfills. What was our problem now becomes York's problem."
Commissioners said they were uncertain of any financial impacts.
Mrs. Gouge said that while the county may lose some tipping fee revenue, it would have less trash to deal with and lower costs.
"I have no problem with it at all unless there's some legal ramifications that we don't know about," she said.
Taneytown Clerk Treasurer Linda M. Hess said WMI has not approached her about changing the contract, which stipulates that all trash hauled from Taneytown would go to the Carroll landfill.
Ms. Hess said she does not know whether Waste Management officials discussed the proposal with City Manager Joseph A. Mangini Jr., who is on vacation until Aug. 2.
"There would have to be council action to change that, but I don't see a problem with [the idea]," Ms. Hess said. "Six dollars a ton is a very appreciable savings.
"It could be good for us, the county, everybody," she said. "We could save the [Carroll] landfill for a while."
Union Bridge Mayor Perry L. Jones Jr. agreed. He said although WMI has not mentioned such a proposal to him, he believes the Town Council would be willing to listen.