One more plan to find yet another way to process human waste and refuse was discussed in the Prince George's County Council this week, and like so many that have gone before, the plan was rejected.
"Let's face it, nobody wants sludge brought into their neighborhood - not even the county council," wrote members of the Cedar Heights Civic Association in a letter to vice chairman Floyd E. Wilson protesting the proposal.
Dano Resource Recovery Inc., a Washington-based company, had requested the use of 10 acres on Sheriff Road in Fairmount Heights as site to reprocess waste from the Blue Plains sewage treatment plant in the District.
The Dano process, which was developed in Switzerland and has been used in Europe but not the U.S., combines sludge and household refuse in a mixing, heating and air operation that produces marketable compost after 15 days. It also recovers ferrous metals from the trash for recycling.
B. L. Metcalf, President of the Dano company, submitted a proposal to the District of Columbia in late November to process 800 tons per day of undigested sludge for Blue Plains George's County solid waste at the Sheriff Road site.
However, before the plan could be approved, the Prince George's County government and local municipalities adjacent to the site had to be notified of the proposal. As usual with sludge sites, therein lies the rub.
While the towns of Cheverly and Fiarmount Heights and the residents of Cedar Heights all noted "the need" for such a facility, all opposed the idea of putting it in their own backyard.
"Although the town (of Cheverly) does not support operation of a mixed sludge and trash composting project close to residential areas, it is an interesting concept," wrote Cheverly Mayor Robert W. O'Connor.
"We realize the disposal of waste is a major problem not only in our county but all areas in the metropolitan area," wrote the citizens of Cedar Heights. "However, the few pluses are far outweighed by the negative impact we feel the plant will have on our community."
Council member David G. Hartlove, who advised the council Tuesday of local opposition, recommended, and the council concurred, that "no further action" be taken at this time on the Dano proposal.
The council did, however, approve a new site for the landspreading of digested and lime-stablized sludge produced at the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission's Piscataway and Western Branch Wastewater Treatment Plants.
Brevard Brothers, a Silver Hill-based hauling firm, proposed using 60 acres of a 600-acre property in Cedarville near the Charles County border for a new sludge site.
The county authorized the company to haul, spread and plow under as much as 50 tons per acre on the property with specific controls on odor exposure, contouring, land grassing truck routes and health precautions.
Council chairman Francis White, in approving the site said "the county has long endorsed the concept of sludge disposal for purposes of utilization, rather than as a means to accomplish disposal of undersirable waste."
At least, that is, unless it's in somebody's neighborhood.