Prince George's County officials yesterday told Montgomery County to take its sludge - that semi-solid residue that results from the treatment of raw sewage - and dump it somewhere other than near Prince George's County.
Prince George's County Council members were angry and clearly insulted by Montgomery County's plans to put a sludge composting facility on the borderline between the two counties near the residential community of Calverton.
"We've been smelling that stuff from our own Beltsville sludge station for too long in that part of the country," said Prime George's Council member Frank P. Casula. "The odor is ferocious."
The Montgomery County proposal may have smelled especially bad to Prince George's officials because of years of perceived insults and jokes about Prince George's being a "dumping ground" for its wealthier neighbors.
It's "like throwing down a gauntlet," said prince George's Council member Parris N. Glendening, commenting that Montgomery County had picked the "one site with a perceived adverse impact on us, at practically our doorstep . . ."
Montgomery County has been searching for a compost facility site - to turn sludge into fertilizer - for its portion of the sludge from the Blue Plains sewage treatment plant.
But most of the proposed sites have been on the western border of Prince George's. Several Prince George's Council members called that "a challenge."
"We want to know why Montgomery County didn't look into the western part of its own county," said Casula.
Prince George's has approval (or in this caserejection) rights over the Montgomery County sites because they jointly hold the purse strings overany money spent by the Washington Suburban Sanitory CommissioN. And the WSSC needs $11.3 million for the composting facility.
Robert McGarry, general manager of the WSSC, called the Prince George's Council action rejecting the site "a death blow to the proposal. They had my personal assurance that the plant would not be a Beltsville. That it would be odoor free, and environmentally sound. This delay will make it impossible for us to get a facility finished by July 1st."