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County might reopen landfill

December 14, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - With the amount of construction debris on the rise at Forty West Landfill, Washington County is considering reopening a closed landfill that once collected such material.

County Director of Public Works Gary Rohrer said by phone Monday that he and his staff are evaluating whether to reopen Rubblefill on Kemps Mill Road.

The rubble landfill was closed at about the time Forty West Landfill opened in 2000, Rohrer said. At the time, the county thought it would be more cost-effective to close Rubblefill and have the building debris sent to Forty West, he said.

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But then, the amount of construction material being taken to Forty West started to increase because of large projects such as the former Wal-Mart building demolition and redevelopment projects in Hagerstown, Rohrer said.

While a cost analysis hasn't been done yet, Rohrer said he thinks the county could save a "substantial" amount of money by reopening Rubblefill and conserving space at Forty West.

The rubble landfill has the capacity to take construction material for another 25 years, Rohrer said.

Rohrer said reopening Rubblefill probably would be discussed with the County Commissioners after Jan. 1.

"We're trying to do this to be proactive, so we don't continue to lose valuable landfill space," he said.

Commissioner John C. Munson said by phone Friday that the Solid Waste Advisory Committee also would discuss the idea.

He said the increase in tonnage at Forty West is good for revenue, but it is creating capacity problems there.

"I'd say it's more bad than good," Munson said.

Construction of a third cell at Forty West began over the summer, and the first phase of that project is scheduled for completion June 1.

The third cell will increase capacity at the landfill, which had a life span of 80 to 100 years when it opened.

The entire third cell is to be completed in October, Rohrer said.

The county bumped the third cell project up by about a year, because of an increase in tonnage.

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