Fire, erosion inspectors probe tires at landfill


Anne Arundel County fire and erosion control inspectors are probing whether shredded tires being stored at the closed hazardous waste landfill on Solley Road are there legally and whether they pose a safety hazard.

Officials at both departments said yesterday inspectors will go to the Marley Neck site, owned by Browning-Ferris Industries, this week to determine whether the mounds of shredded tires are bigger than allowable under the county fire code, said Chief Gary Sheckells, Fire Department spokesman.

"Our concern is the fire code places limits on the size of the piles, 20 feet in height, 10,000 square feet total size, and they are required to have 15 feet of clearance . . . around it," he said. He said the fire marshal's office received a complaint last week about the shredded tires.

Richard Collins, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) director for solid waste, said the shredded tires are not a fire hazard because they will not decompose and burn, though "if somebody were to torch them they would be." He said his office would work with the fire marshal's office. Flammable material in the landfill is too diluted to pose a further fire threat, Mr. Collins said.

The large chipped tire piles near the landfill gates are visible from Solley Road. A fire inspector went to the landfill Monday, but the gates were locked, preventing the inspector from entering.

An inspector from the county's Department of Planning and Code Enforcement is expected this week.

The company plans to use the chipped tires instead of gravel for drainage at the landfill. But it doesn't have approval for that project from MDE. Mr. Collins said that could come in two weeks. The company has received federal approval for its drainage plan.

Environmental protections at the landfill are failing and contaminated ground water has spread west beyond the property lines, officials have said.

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