County speeds up landfill cemetery plan

August 10, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County government plans to disinter bodies in a 19th-century cemetery at the planned Lund Landfill as soon as legally possible in order to reduce the anxiety of relatives of those buried there, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said Tuesday.

The cemetery is in a portion of the landfill property that will not be used for at least five years but the county plans to move the cemetery within the next two to three years, he said.

The county first must obtain approval to proceed from other government agencies, he said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which must approve landfill plans, required the county to sign an agreement regarding the cemetery before landfill development could proceed. The county is waiting to see if the agencies involved in the agreement are satisfied with it.

The government has accepted offers of help from Rose Hill Cemetery and the Gerald N. Minnich Funeral Home, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said during a discussion of landfill issues at Tuesday's meeting.


"It is nice to have that community support," Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said.

The cemetery manager has offered to put the bodies into a prominent portion of the 135-year-old cemetery, free of charge.

Gerald N. Minnich, director of the funeral home, has offered to work with the Maryland Health Department to get disinterment permits needed to move the bodies from the small private cemetery.

The 425-acre Lund Landfill is scheduled to open in about 14 months, at about the same time the Resh Sanitary Landfill is expected to run out of room. The property is in a bend of the Conococheague Creek near Resh.

The County Commissioners were given updates on plans for both projects.

Rohrer estimates it will cost Washington County about $12 million to close the Resh Landfill and another $12 million to get Lund ready for operation.

The Lund costs include $4.3 million to build a bridge and an access road connecting the site to U.S. 40. The bridge is scheduled to open in September 2000.

To avoid decreasing the capacity of the planned Lund Landfill the county wants to move the 40 to 50 bodies believed to have been buried on a portion of the property between 1825 and 1856.

If the bodies aren't moved, the landfill's lifespan will drop from 80 years to about 50 to 55 years, Rohrer said. The cemetery, which is about 60 by 72.5 feet, is in a depression.

Most of the identified gravestones are from three German-American families, Stine, Wachtel and Troup, according to a 1996 county-commissioned archaeological report by Joseph Hopkins Associates Inc. of Baltimore.

Rohrer said the county has been developing plans regarding the small cemetery for about five years and knew about its existence before obtaining the landfill property from Wendell Lund, a Washington, D.C., attorney, in 1990.

The Herald-Mail Articles