The Montgomery County Council tentatively chose a site near the Montgomery Industrial Park off Rte. 29 yesterday for a composting facility for treated sewage, better known as sludge.
The 107-acre site is surrounded by industrial facilities and is six-tenths of a mile southwest of the Calverton residential subdivision.
The Montgomery Council is expected to make its choice formal next Tuesday, but the site also needs the approval of the Prince George's County Council, since the composting facility, a project of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, would be funded by both counties.
At the facility, sludge, the solid waste removed from raw sewage, would be mixed with wood chips and aerated for several weeks to produce a useful soil additive called compost.
The site, selected unanimously at a Montgomery Council work session yesterday, is one of five that were considered. All five are between Rte. 29 and the Montgomery-Prince George's border.
Citizens who live on both sides of the county line had protested that the facility would be a smelly health hazard.
Council President John L. Menke described the chosen site as "the least undesirable location."
"The site is farther away from residences," Menke said. "The area has already been hit by gravel pits. It's not like we're tearing down a virgin forest. Also, trucks carrying sludge to the site would not have to go on residential streets."
He said restrictions will be placed on both the truck routes to the site and the design of the facility, the aid will be monitored to detect any health hazards and any necessary precautions will be taken. A citizens committee will be set up during the design process to ensure that the facility has as little impact on the community as possible, Menke said.