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Officials favor composting plant


The County Commissioners have ruled out building an incinerator to burn trash and instead are leaning toward a less controversial composting process to handle Carroll's waste.

Yesterday, they talked with officials from Frederick and Anne Arundel counties who are interested in the same composting method process, and agreed to explore ways the counties could band together to save money on composting plants.

"The real key is in our buying power," Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary said.

Carroll officials have been looking for years for ways to dispose of county trash because landfill space is scarce.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell, who has been a proponent of incineration, said yesterday incineration no longer is an option.

The other two commissioners are not in favor of it and no incineration companies submitted proposals this year when the county requested them, he said.

"I was disappointed in that," Mr. Dell said.

Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown said he was pleased that officials at the meeting at the Carroll County Office Building rejected building incinerators. He has supported composting since before he was elected last year.

Commissioner Richard T. Yates also said composting sounded like a good idea. "It sounds like the cleanest option we have," he said.

With the options narrowed, Mr. Dell said he could support building a composter to handle municipal waste and sewage sludge. But he said he is concerned that food producers might not accept food grown in fields fertilized with the compost.

Officials from the three counties are interested in a composting process developed by Bedminster Bioconversion Corp. of Cherry Hill, N.J. Bedminster speeds the natural composting process using kilns and produces a fertilizer used mainly by nurseries.

Mr. Gary said he is considering a contract with the company to build a plant in Anne Arundel and urged Carroll and Frederick officials to do the same.

If the counties bargained together, they might be able to save $3 LTC million to $5 million each on a $20 million composting plant, he said.

Each county would build its own plant.

"This is technology that buys us time," Mr. Gary said.

Officials from each county said they do not want to build new landfills because land is expensive and residents are likely to object to proposed sites.

Carroll County landfills are expected to last another 20 years, using land at the county's Northern Landfill in Westminster and the closed Hood's Mill Landfill in Woodbine, Public Works Director J. Michael Evans said.

Officials from the three counties will meet with Bedminster executives Sept. 26.

Carroll commissioners have not voted whether to build a composting plant, but said they expect to make a decision by spring.

Mr. Dell said Carroll and Frederick could share a plant.

He said the commissioners would not make a decision until reading a report scheduled to be released in March by Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority, which is studying regional waste disposal options.

Carroll officials have visited a plant in Sevierville, Tenn., and said there was no odor or noise from outside the facility.

Mark L. Hoke, president of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners, said his county would be more interested in composting if the counties could band together to save money.

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