Landfill redesign could save millions

July 02, 1997


Staff Writer

A redesign of Washington County's Lund Landfill will more than triple its capacity, resulting in millions of dollars in long-term savings for the county, officials said Tuesday.

Public Works Director Gary Rohrer told the commissioners that the landfill has enough space to handle Washington County trash for up to 80 years. An earlier, less efficient design would provide about 25 years of space, he said.

Future improvements in landfill technology could extend the life even further, Rohrer said.

"The sky is the limit with this," he said.

Solid Waste Director Robert Davenport said the savings on liner costs of at least $7.35 a ton compared to earlier designs should result in lower tipping fees.


A savings of $7.35 a ton multiplied by 12 million tons would amount to a savings of $88 million over the life of the landfill.

The savings would be realized because the redesign provides for higher density and higher volume trash areas than the earlier design, Rohrer said. Total area to be used for landfill will increase from 163 to 190 acres. The rest of the 425-acre property will be used for buffers.

County Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers, who was president of the commissioners when the county bought the land from Washington, D.C., attorney Wendell L. Lund in 1990, said the next 15 boards of county commissioners will not have to worry about building landfills. He predicted that part of the property would be used as an industrial park for 50 to 70 years.

The landfill site is tucked in a bend of the Conococheague Creek near the current Resh Sanitary Landfill. A $4.3 million bridge and access road will connect the site to U.S. 40.

An agreement with nearby property owners locks the county into building the bridge instead of upgrading roads on the same side of the Conococheague as the landfill.

Rohrer said the bridge will save miles of travel for trash haulers.

Rohrer said space at the Resh landfill will run out in about three years if trash flows remain the same. Trash flows dropped more than 40 percent after the commissioners raised the fee per ton of trash to $45 from $40. About 250 tons a day is dumped at the Resh Landfill, Rohrer said.

Rohrer said the environment has been protected by the Lund design, which preserves wetlands on the site, provides for reforestation and includes stormwater management ponds.

Rohrer said he didn't yet know if a $5 million solid waste deficit projected through 2003 under a "worst-case scenario" presented in January would be erased by projected savings at Lund.

Rohrer said the permitting process with the Maryland Department of the Environment must be completed for the landfill. He predicted the landfill bridge would go out for bid next spring.

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