The Maryland secretary of Health and mental hygiene issued a permit yesterday that will allow Prince George's County to begin dumping solid household waste into a sanitary landfill site just north of Old Bowie.
Despite strong opposition from neighbors of the site located just off Rte. 197, Dr. Neil Solomon approved the permit after receiving a recommendation that the site was "satisfactory and safe for a landfill."
"We know there is opposition to the landfill," said Henry Nathan, spokesman for Solomon, "but we have seriously considered citizen input and have seen that all the proper safeguards have been met. The secretary has even reviewed the record himself."
Monica Schleidt, a member of the Coalition of Angry Neighbors, the citizens group that has tried to prevent the county from obtaining a state permit, said the group "had not much doubt the state would approve the dump" but "we were disappointed anyway."
Schleidt said the group's primary opposition to the landfill was "it's close proximity to houses in the area. Why, there are 45 houses within 1,000 feet of where they are going to dump garbage."
Schleidt said a county ordinance prohibits landfill dumpings within 1,000 feet of residential and commercial buildings. "But," she said, "the county waived those regulations to get the site built. They will allow them to dump garbage 200 feet from someone's home."
The landfill "iss exemp from those regulations" according to a letter from County Council Chairman Francis White to Solomon, because the landfill "is located on publicly owned land."
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission bought the 217-acre site last year. A private firm, Waste Management Inc., will manage the landfill and, as it fill up, will build a park for the county over the rubbish dumped there.
Nathan said the landfill's permit was granted on the stipulation that no dumping take place within 400 feet of any house.