The Harford County Department of Public Works will close its four satellite yard waste collection sites in Fallston, Bel Air, Churchville and Abingdon Sept. 30, the county government announced yesterday.
"Faced with state budget cuts and the need to serve county residents, the decision was made to shut down the sites and instead provide extended hours at Scarboro landfill to serve residents," said Frank Henderson, deputy director of environmental affairs.
Valerie Twanmoh, past president of Friends of Harford Inc., a grass-roots group that monitors quality-of-life issues, expressed concern that the closings could result in some people dumping yard waste along roadsides and other areas.
But, Henderson said, "Those yard waste collection sites attracted more than just grass clippings and sticks from yards around the county. Residents have dumped rocks, old toilets, tires, sinks, dead animals and household garbage in with the yard waste. Additionally, some commercial haulers from Harford as well as out-of-county dumpers used the sites illegally; all of which pushed the real cost to nearly $700,000."
Hauling the waste from each site to Scarboro costs $300,000 annually. "Damaged equipment from hitting rocks and other contaminants along with overtime hours to deal with separating the waste pushed up the cost of the program," Henderson said.
Henderson added, "Not only does this decision save tax dollars, it saves valuable landfill space and it is the right thing to do environmentally."
Beginning Oct. 1, the free composting facility at the Scarboro Landfill, 3135 Scarboro Road in Street, will be open seven days a week from dawn to dusk for county residents.