As they search for a way to dispose of trash without digging a new landfill, the Carroll County commissioners were told yesterday that a regional approach would be best.
A waste-disposal company proposed that the county could handle its waste and save money by joining Frederick and Washington counties to use available landfill space.
Browning-Ferris Industries representatives made the proposal during a closed meeting with Frederick County and Carroll County commissioners in Frederick. Washington County officials did not attend.
"It's still putting trash in landfills. I would like to get away from that," Carroll Commissioner Richard T. Yates said after the meeting. "But we haven't made any definite decision. We're still talking about composting."
Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown has touted a New Jersey company's composting system that uses microbes to turn garbage into fertilizer. Officials from Anne Arundel and Frederick counties also have expressed interest in the Bedminster Bioconversion Corp. process.
Yesterday, BFI proposed that Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties consolidate their landfill operations, said Carroll Deputy Public Works Director Gary L. Horst, who attended the meeting.
The company did not discuss a specific plan but said the counties could lower their tipping fees by building transfer stations and using existing landfills in each county in a cyclical way, he said.
The counties are losing money because some haulers take trash to out-of-state private landfills that charge lower tipping rates.
As a result, Frederick County officials have considered lowering their county's tipping fee of $52 a ton, County Manager Bill Dennis said. Carroll's rate is $45 a ton.
"We're looking at different alternatives," Mr. Dennis said.
John L. Lininger, vice president of marketing for BFI, would not comment on the company's presentation.
Last year, in a proposal to a Carroll citizens committee studying the issue, BFI proposed building a transfer station in Carroll from which trash would be hauled out of the county to the company's landfills, composting facilities and recycling centers.
The commissioners have said they will not make a decision before March, when the Baltimore Metropolitan Council is to release a report on the feasibility of regional solutions to disposing of solid waste.
The commissioners also want to sponsor a symposium at which all options -- composting, landfills and incineration -- would be examined, Mr. Yates said. The county would invite representatives from companies involved in each endeavor, he said.
The commissioners have ruled out building an incinerator in Carroll but consider transporting county waste to an incinerator in another county an option, Mr. Yates said.
Carroll landfills, Northern in Westminster and Hoods Mill in Woodbine, are expected to last 20 years more.