BFI agrees to test wells east of hazardous fill


The owner of a leaking hazardous waste landfill near Glen Burnie has agreed to test residential wells east of the site, after a contentious meeting with Marley Neck homeowners.

Although details of the program must be worked out, residents are asking for tests every six months. Susan Wienand, project manager for Browning-Ferris Industries, owner of the landfill that closed in 1982, said the company will consider doing one or two tests on the wells and draft a written agreement for the community.

Residents of the neighborhood estimate seven wells are involved.

"Yes, I'm pleased. But they could do more. They took one little baby step. I want some giant steps," said Mary Rosso, an activist who heads the community group negotiating with BFI for more environmental protection.

Several people at Tuesday night's community meeting angrily insisted that BFI test their wells, even though the Maryland Department of the Environment has said that is not necessary. The state also has said fears that the wells are tainted with carcinogens are unwarranted. Joe Smith still was concerned.

"Why isn't it being done?" said Mr. Smith, who lives near the landfill. He and others have spent a year trying to get the tests.

Testing to the west of the landfill has been much more substantive because most of the ground water flows in that direction. Contaminants have been found 2,400 feet west of the center of the Solley Road landfill. Little if any ground water flows east from the landfill. One monitoring well on the landfill's east side has shown low-level contamination.

BFI would test wells within 2,400 feet east of the middle of the landfill. Residents want BFI to go beyond environmental department requirements for the permits to reseal the leaking landfill and treat its discharges.

They also want a new environmental assessment.

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