The Montgomery Council this week approved continued study of the three landfill sites selected by County Executive James P. Gleason.

The council vote to include all of the sites in the solid waste plan for the county is a preliminary requirement to choosing one of the sites for the landfill. In addition, the state Environmental Protection Agency must have evidence that the County Council agrees with the county executive on the site selection process before it grants permits for a landfill.

One site is adjacent to Rte. 108 and Dorsey Road in Laytonsville, another is on Persimmon Tree Road in Potomac, and the third is adjacent to Rte. 108 and Riggs Road near Laytonsville.

The council members quizzed the planners and consultants who are seeking a suitable piece of land on which to build a landfill to replace the present, rapidly filling Gude-Southlawn landfill in Rockville.

"I think they're all unsuitable sites," said Council Member John Menke, "from the standpoint of transportation considerations and community impact. But if you vote no on this, what are you going to with the trash?"

Nonetheless, only three council members voted to put the landfill sites into the solid waste plan. Two - Jane Ann Moore and Esther Gelman - voted no.One, Neal Potter, abstained. The seventh council member, William Colman, was not present for the discussion or the vote because he lives near one of the prospective landfill sites.

"Despite the excellent studies, we're really in a box," said Gelman. "We will always feel that rail haul is better."

Rail haul is the taking of trash from the county by train to a privately owned landfill in another part of the country. Montgomery tried unsuccessfully to find other landfills, privately owned and operated, to take trash several years ago.

"The state has really messed up our better plans," said Potter, referring to the time several years ago when the county thought it had found a suitable site for landfill in Clarksburg but the state refused to issue a permit for it.

The country said in its amendment to the solid waste plan that it supports continued landfill study at the designated sites but that county officials should work toward setting up a privately run central processing facility that would take out reusable parts of trash and dispose of trash in a less objectionable process than landfill.

"I believe the central processing facility," said Menke "if agreesively pursued by the executive, can be in operation in 18 months."