Prince George's County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan has asked the state board of health to revoke the permit it has issued for a bicounty sludge composting plant scheduled to be built in Calverton, near the Montgomery-Prince George's county line.
In a letter dated Wednesday, Hogan asked that alternate sites near the Blue Plains regional plant in Washington be considered meaning the plant would be in Prince George's County but away from the populous Rte. 29 corridor adjacent to the proposed Calverton plant.
Lifting the Calverton permit, however, would create serious problems for development in Montgomery since the county has virtually exhausted its treatment capacity at Blue Plains and faces a halt to development plans if an alternative composting plant is not found quickly.
"I find this to be very discouraging considering the atmosphere of cooperation we have all been working under," Montgomery County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist said yesterday when he learned of the letter. "We have been working against court imposed deadlines (to cut down treatment at Blue Plains because of pollution) and under the scrutiny of citizens to try and solve this problem in an environmentally suitable way."
Hogan's chief administrative officer, Kenneth V. Duncan, said yesterday that Hogan had asked that the permit be revoked for two main reasons: a large amount of money would be saved by the county if the sludge did not have to be hauled to Calverton and a consultant's report issued four days before the permit was granted questioned the assumed safeguards of the plant.
"The odors and pathogenic materials released from a facility of the capacity proposed have not been adequately tested and pose possible dangers to nearby residents," Hogan wrote in the four page letter.
The letter goes on to say that $20 million could be saved if one plant was built for the two counties instead of a plant for each county and notes that a bicounty plant with innovative technology could be eligible for up to 85 percent in federal funding.
If the health department leaves the permit intact, construction in Calverton would start within a few months.