BFI's plan for landfill opposed Landowner seeks hearing on permit to reseal dump


A man who says his land has been poisoned by Browning-Ferris Industries' leaking hazardous waste landfill on Solley Road is contesting a decision by state regulators to give the waste hauler permission to reseal part of the site.

"It's not good -- the permit does not address the problems," said S. John Blumenthal, who owns 145 acres next to the landfill.

Mr. Blumenthal filed a letter Thursday with the Maryland Department of the Environment requesting a hearing on the permit. BFI's consultants have shown that ground water tested on his land contains cancer-causing chemicals emanating from the landfill, and he has abandoned plans to build a housing development on his property.

"The landfill was closed in 1982, and 13 years later it is still leaking. What is MDE doing?" Mr. Blumenthal said.

He has sued BFI in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, charging it breached a contract with him when it contaminated his property. A trial is set for December.

The Maryland Department of the Environment announced last month that it plans to approve BFI's controversial plan to reseal 8 acres at the closed landfill near Pasadena.

That ruling came 23 months after BFI requested the permit for what it considered emergency work to repair and then reseal the landfill. Federal Environmental Protection Agency officials have said the problems must be taken care of quickly because the stream of volatile organic pollutants is moving toward Marley Creek, which feeds into the Chesapeake Bay.

Mr. Blumenthal contends that the ground water monitoring network does not contain enough strategically placed wells or wells deep enough to assess the direction, speed and depth of the pollutants.

The state has given BFI permission to use shredded tires, instead of sand or gravel, for a drainage layer. In his letter to MDE, Mr. Blumenthal called this an "unproven technology." MDE officials have said that it is a developing technology and an innovative use of scrap tires.

Chunks of the old clay cap have slid off buried waste, letting rain trickle through the hazardous material.

BFI plans to use a plastic liner to cover the landfill and a cap containing clay. Those layers would be topped with tires, then dirt, sludge and grass.

Because the landfill does not have a clay bottom to contain waste -- its bottom is a mix of clay and sand -- Mr. Blumenthal wants either underground walls or other barriers to prevent toxins from leaving the landfill.

Nearby residents have denounced the plan to use shredded tires. But Mary Rosso, leader of a community group formed to discuss concerns with BFI, said the group would not contest the permit.

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