Harford County Maryland
Harford County, Maryland
Harford County Maryland  
Harford County Maryland
David R. Craig, Harford County Executive
Harford County Maryland

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Solid Waste Disposal Agreement...

County Executive Craig Announces Solid Waste Agreement with Baltimore County

Mutually beneficial plan solves Harford’s solid waste disposal dilemma  

Harford County Executive David R. Craig has announced a long-term agreement with Baltimore County that will allow solid waste from Harford County customers to be transfered at the Eastern Sanitary Landfill off Route 40 near White Marsh.

“I am pleased to announce that after nearly six years of careful study, analysis, and negotiation, Harford County has entered into an agreement with Baltimore County for the disposal of trash and solid waste.  We believe the agreement is mutually beneficial to both Baltimore and Harford Counties, and I thank all parties involved for their diligence.”

Pursuant to the agreement with Baltimore County, private businesses that collect trash in Harford County will unload solid waste of the Eastern Landfill, where it will then be transferred for further processing.  The facility will not be open to drop-offs by Harford County residents, but rather only to private trash contractors.  Harford County residents may continue to drop-off their trash and recyclables at the Harford Waste Disposal Center on Scarboro Road in Street after this arrangement commences.

Currently, Harford County disposes of solid waste at two disposal facilities: the Harford Waste Disposal Center on Scarboro Road in northern Harford County and the Waste-to-Energy plant off Magnolia Road in southern Harford County.  The United States Army’s Steam Purchase Agreement for the Waste-to-Energy facility at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground expires in March 2016. The Army previously notified Harford County officials of its intention not to renew the agreement and to cease operations at the facility in 2016.

Additionally, disposal of the county’s solid waste at the Harford Waste Disposal Center is not a sustainable solution, as there is insufficient capacity remaining at the landfill to meet future needs.

As a result of the pending shut-down of the Waste-to-Energy facility and limited life span of the Harford Waste Disposal Center, the Harford County Department of Public Works was tasked several years ago with developing a long-term plan and solution for the county’s solid waste management.  The Department of Public Works explored various options and locations and the agreement with Baltimore County was chosen as the most cost effective and practical solution.

Commenting on the agreement, Tim Whittie, Director of the Harford County Department of Public Works said, “This agreement is the first step in moving toward a long-range plan for Harford County Solid Waste Management.  Later this summer we will begin a Full Cost Accounting Study to help us determine our future needs and how to proceed from this point.  The study will in essence help us in preparing a business plan for solid waste management for years to come.”

As currently planned, on or around March of 2016, the Harford Waste Disposal Center in Street will no longer accept solid waste from private trash companies.  In the future the current landfill will be capped and closed.  However, the homeowner convenience center and yard waste facility will continue to operate after the landfill closes.  In addition, the county’s curbside single stream recycling program will continue, with that waste stream also being transported to Baltimore County for further processing.

The agreement with Baltimore County for use of the Eastern Sanitary Landfill in White Marsh means that the former Plecker Golf property located in the 800 block of Philadelphia Road in Joppa will not be used as a waste transfer station as had been proposed in the spring of 2012. The future use of the former Plecker property will be determined following an assessment of the future needs of the Department of Public Works and of the nearby community.

Commenting on the plan, Harford County Councilman Dion Guthrie (District A) said, “I fully support the decision that was reached by the Administration regarding our solid waste disposal.  This option, as explained by the County Executive, alleviates a major concern for the residents of Joppa/Joppatowne and Edgewood.”

“This is an issue that we have been working on for a number of years and is definitely a win/win situation for all citizens,” Guthrie continued.  “The eventual closing of the Waste-to-Energy facility in 2016 will be well received by all of the citizens along Route 152 and Fort Hoyle Roads.  I would like to thank County Executive Craig, Public Works Director Tim Whittie, and all of the citizens in my district for their patience and assistance in getting us to this point.”

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need to change the way we dispose of waste?

The county currently disposes of its solid waste in two solid waste disposal facilities: the Harford Waste Disposal Center Landfill on Scarboro Road and the Waste-to-Energy plant at the Edgewood area of Aberdeen Proving Ground.

The Army’s Steam Purchase Agreement for the Waste-to-Energy facility expires in March 2016. The Army has notified the county of its desire not to renew this agreement and to shut the facility down.

Disposal of the County’s solid waste at the Harford Waste Disposal Center Landfill is not a sustainable solution. There is insufficient capacity remaining for the long-term.

Both of these facilities will cease operations on or around March 2016.

So where will the trash be going?

Harford County will be directing the private businesses that collect trash to dispose of it at a solid waste transfer station located at the Baltimore County Eastern Sanitary Landfill in White Marsh, just southwest of the Harford County line. When comparing the distance for a private company to haul trash to the Waste-to-Energy plant to the distance to haul trash to the Eastern Sanitary Landfill the difference is only 2.5 miles. This facility will not be open to County residents. It will only be open to the private trash companies. Harford County residents will continue to be able to drop-off their trash and recyclables at the Harford Waste Disposal Center on Scarboro Road in Street.

What were the other alternatives that were considered?

This agreement brings a level of finality to six years of study and planning for addressing Harford County’s long term solid waste disposal needs. Many options involving a number of different facilities and locations were explored, and ultimately, the agreement with Baltimore County was deemed to be both the least expensive and the most practical solution.

The other alternatives considered are listed below with the associated operating and capital costs listed. It is important to note that there are other factors external of costs that were also considered, such as convenience and feasibility.

Alternative Solution

Capital Costs of County-Owned Waste Disposal Facility

Estimated 2016 Solid Waste Annual Operating Costs and Waste Disposal Facility Debt Service

 

Continue Operating WTE Plant for 10 yrs. Construct & operate Recycling Transfer Station next to plant. Transfer out solid waste above capacity of plant.

$3.6M

$12.5M*

 

Local Trash Collectors Deliver solid waste and single stream recyclables to Baltimore County's Transfer Station

$0

$13.4M

 

Harford County Finances, Designs, Builds, and Operates Transfer Station at HWDC landfill.

$8.4M

$13.5M

 

Harford County Finances, Designs, Builds and Operates Transfer Station at Joppa w/o Homeowner Drop-off Facility

$9.3M

$13.6M

 

MES Transfer Station at Joppa w/o Homeowner Drop-off Facility

$8.5M

$13.7M

 

Harford County Finances, Designs, Builds and Operates Transfer Station at Joppa with Homeowner Drop-off Facility

$11.1M

$13.9M

 

MES Transfer Station at Joppa with Homeowner Drop-off Facility

$11.5M

$14.2M

 

Harford County Finances, Designs and Builds Transfer Station at Joppa with Homeowner Drop-off Facility. Private Company Operates

$11.1M

$14.5M

 

Private Company Finances, Designs, Builds, Constructs and Operates Transfer Station at Joppa with Homeowner Drop-off Facility

$0

$14.7M

 

MES Transfer Station & Fuel Processing Facility at Joppa with Homeowner Drop-off Facility

$20M

$15.2M

* This alternative assumes the availability of the WTE Plant and the willingness of the Army to continue the relationship, which is not currently the case. The alternative results in an estimated 2016 annual operating costs and debt service of $17.1M. This is offset by revenue from steam sales, permitted materials, and recovered metals estimated to be $4.6M, or a net annual cost of $12.5M.

What happened to the proposed solid waste transfer station on Philadelphia Road in Joppa?

One alternative that was looked at was to construct and operate a Solid Waste Transfer Station on county-owned property on Philadelphia Road near the MD 152/I-95 interchange. Rather than disposing of trash in the Harford Waste Disposal Center landfill or at the Waste-to-Energy facility, trash would have been transported to the solid waste transfer station in Joppa, where it would have been unloaded, processed, and shipped to a yet-to-be-constructed Waste-to-Energy facility in Baltimore City.

This alternative was strongly considered and was a viable option at the time due to the close proximity to I-95 and other major roadways, however the plans for the Baltimore facility have not yet come to fruition, and this no longer became a realistic option. Furthermore, considerations regarding long-term costs and the concerns of the community were also reasons for exploring additional options.

Future uses of the property will be studied over the next year. The long-term needs of the Department of Public Works will be considered, as will the public safety infrastructure needs of the nearby community.

What will happen to the Waste-to-Energy facility?

The Army no longer wishes to utilize the facility for energy generation beyond March 2016, and per the lease agreement, the Army will require the County to demolish the entire facility and associated steam lines at a cost of $12 million prior to the expiration of the site lease in 2019.

What will happen to the Harford Waste Disposal Center landfill on Scarboro Road?

The Harford Waste Disposal Center landfill on Scarboro Road will no longer accept solid waste from private trash companies on or around March 2016. Eventually the landfill will be capped and closed. However, the homeowner convenience center and yard waste facility will continue operation. The operation of the Tollgate yard waste drop-off facility will also continue.

Will my curbside trash collection service change by this plan?

No. Residents and businesses that currently subscribe to a trash collection service with a private company will continue to do so in the future.

Will I have to pay more for my trash removal?

At this time it is uncertain what residents and businesses will pay for trash disposal service in 2016. Harford County will be performing a rate study within the next year to develop a new solid waste disposal fee structure to incorporate into the new plan that will go into effect in 2016.

Every feasible solid waste alternative resulted in increased disposal costs. The rate study will evaluate revenue mechanisms to fund the solid waste program and how those revenues will translate to disposal costs passed onto the customers. The new solid waste fee structure will be implemented to become effective when this new plan commences.

Whom can I contact with concerns or questions about this plan?

For concerns or questions about this plan, you can contact the Office of the County Executive’s Constituent Services office at 410-638-3511 or 410-638-3355.

For general questions about Solid Waste in Harford County, you can also contact the Department of Public Works, Environmental Services Division at 410.638.3018 or env@harfordcountymd.gov.

In addition, if you wish to contact your County Council representative and need that contact information, visit http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/council.

 

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS...

  • Press Release - County Executive Craig Announces Solid Waste Agreement with Baltimore County
  • Harford County Government, Maryland Questions or comments webmaster@harfordcountymd.gov
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