Fearing traffic, noise and foul odors, Elkridge residents are fighting plans to build a waste-transfer station in their community that would process 2,000 tons of garbage a day.
"I'm worried about the garbage, smell and the rodents," said Montgomery Woods resident Ronald Tilkins, a member of the board of directors of the Elkridge Community Association. "I don't call it a waste-transfer station. I call it a dump."
Browning-Ferris Industries, which collects and processes most of the county's trash and recyclables, wants to build a waste-transfer station next to its recycling plant off U.S. 1 on Cemetery Lane. The waste-transfer station would provide a place for up to 2,000 tons of garbage to be dumped daily onto a concrete floor, compacted into 25-ton tractor-trailer loads and shipped to regional landfills owned by BFI in Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Houston-based BFI, one of the largest trash haulers in the country, needs a solid-waste zoning classification to build the facility. The property currently is zoned light manufacturing and warehousing.
A Zoning Board hearing for opponents to the rezoning is scheduled for Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Howard County office building.
Despite earlier hearings on the plan, few residents have publicly criticized the proposed waste-transfer station. However, Bluestream Limited Partnership of Ellicott City, which owns 79 undeveloped acres next to the proposed site, has opposed the plan.
Ray Miller, president of the Elkridge Community Association, believes few people have protested the facility because it will not be in a residential neighborhood.
Some county officials support the BFI plan because it would let the county close the aging, contaminant-leaking Alpha Ridge Landfill in Marriottsville and temporarily ship trash out of the area until a regional waste plan is worked out with other Baltimore-area jurisdictions.
Some residents fear that, once approved, the waste-transfer station could expand and be difficult to monitor.
"Once you have something like that, it's difficult to get rid of it and regulate it," Mr. Miller said. But John L. Lininger, BFI's area marketing director, said the firm has no plans to expand beyond the current proposal.
The facility would be monitored by the state Department of the Environment and by the local health department.
"There's standard criteria [so] you don't have off-site impacts," said James M. Irvin, director of the Department of Public Works.
As an alternative to the proposal, residents have suggested building the waste-transfer station at the Alpha Ridge Landfill, which already is zoned for solid waste disposal.
Residents also worry about the number of trucks entering and leaving the facility.
But Mr. Lininger said the facility would operate 24 hours a day to spread the number of tractor-trailers throughout the day. To protect homes along Meadowridge Road, east of the proposed facility, tractor-trailers would leave it from Roosevelt Boulevard and Meadowridge Road, where they would be directed north onto U.S. 1 and onto Route 100 and Interstate 95.