The leaking hazardous-waste landfill on Solley Road needs to be resealed promptly, but a proposal to use tire chips instead of sand for drainage warrants more study, an independent consultant said in a report released last night.
In the report, the consultant to residents who live near the landfill also seeks more strategically placed wells to monitor the movement of contaminated ground water. Generally, the water is heading west toward Marley Creek.
ABB Environmental Services of Arlington, Va., the consultant, which did the report in less than a month, said that because contaminated ground water has reached the outer monitoring wells, new wells should be added to track the movement of the contamination.
Residents, working with the Maryland Waste Coalition, hope to use the report to support positions they will take on a state permit the landfill is seeking so that it can reseal about 8 acres.
The landfill, which accepted solvents and other hazardous waste, is owned by Browning-Ferris Industries. BFI, one of the world's largest waste companies, wants to recap the landfill because environmental protections have failed. It has federal permits -- those include using tire chips -- on most of the site but also needs the state permit.
"We want to get some of these recommendations in the permit," said Mary Rosso, who heads the coalition. However, the comment period for the pending permit closes Tuesday. The group may seek an extension from the Maryland Department of the Environment because it will have had the final report for less than a week by then.
MDE officials at last night's meeting said they did not know what impact the report will have on the terms of the permit. ABB recommended that a bond large enough to pay for replacing the cap be required because using tire chips for drainage is not a proven technology.
Marley Neck residents have become concerned about the spread of cancer-causing pollutants from the landfill that was closed in 1982. Some are fearful that ground water contamination will ruin the waterfront communities where generations of families have lived.
The ABB report calls it unlikely that contaminants were
placed directly into the ground water. It based its assumption on BFI and state records.
County Councilman Thomas Redmond of Pasadena disputed ABB on that point. He said that in the 1970s, while working for his family's towing company, he was in a pit at the landfill that was "60 feet deep at least . . . the water just pouring in."
ABB said it will examine additional records that might indicate the landfill had been dug deep enough that waste was dumped into the ground water.