Waste plant may expand

The Baltimore Sun

Army officials are scheduled to present a report at a public meeting Wednesday that concludes that a proposed $400 million expansion to Harford County's waste-to-energy facility in Joppa poses no threat to residents or the environment.

The project is intended to help accommodate the growth at Aberdeen Proving Ground because of BRAC, the military base relocation and closure process that is expected to bring 10,000 new jobs to APG over the next 10 years.

Steam from the plant supplies buildings in the Edgewood area of APG with heat in winter and air conditioning in summer.

Besides supplying the base with more steam, the expanded plant would also be used to process trash from Baltimore County and to generate electricity.

General Physics Corp. of Edgewood, an independent consultant, wrote the 568-page report that says expansion of the 22-year-old facility would "have no significant effects on the quality of human life or the natural environment."

County residents will be able to ask questions about the report at a meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Magnolia Middle School in Joppa.

The plant, formally known as the Harford County Resource Recovery Facility, incinerates about 360 tons of Harford County solid waste a day.

Robert B. Cooper, Harford County's public works director, said an expanded facility could handle about 1,500 tons a day, enough to accommodate all the county's nonrecycled solid waste and still leave 750 tons of capacity for trash from Baltimore County, which would share the site and its costs.

The plant sits on 14 acres that the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority leases from the Army on behalf of Harford County. The Army has made an additional 20 acres available to accommodate the proposed expansion.

Officials hope the Harford County and Baltimore County councils will approve the proposal this year and that the expanded facility will be operating by 2015.

Concerns raised by residents at this week's meeting will be woven into a final draft of the environmental assessment, which is to be completed by Feb. 27, Cooper said. The Directorate of Safety, Health and Environment at APG will accept written comments until that date.

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