Montgomery County is going ahead with construction of the controversial Laytonsille landfill, while people living near the future dump press their campaign to move it elsewhere.
A dozen community leaders from the Laytonsville area met this week at the corner of Rte. 108 and Riggs Road, where bulldozers were grading about 100 acres of the former Oaks II farm, and vowed to continue their fight to force the county to obey the county charter.
Voters in 1978 approved a charter amendment prohibiting the county from spending money to operate a landfill on land zoned for residential use.
County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist's lawsuit seeking a declaratory ruling that the amendment is invalid was dismissed on procedural grounds two weeks ago by Judge Joseph Mathias of the Circuit Court.
The judge said the court could not rule in the case because the litigants were not parties to the controversy and the voters who approved the amendment were not represented in the suit. County officials have appealed that decision.
The county currently is dumping its 1,300 tons of domestic garbage a day at the Gude-Southlawn Sanitation Landfill in Rockville. But that dump has reached the point where, as one county official put it, "tin cans are literally rolling off the heap."
The Maryland state Department of Health ordered the county to close Gude by the summer of 1981 and open a new landfill. The county screened all 500 square miles of Montgomery, started in early 1977, looked at 271 potential sites, narrowed them down to 24, and finally chose Laytonsville.
Even with construction already beginning, Laytonsville will not be ready for operation before 1982, and the county has received an emergency extension to use Gude until that time.
The Gude-Southlawn site has been used since 1964. The Laytonsville dump would be a smaller short-term landfill that will reach its capacity in several years if it is used for all the county's solid waste.
Montgomery hopes to open an alternative disposal site by 1985 or 1986, according to Andrea Eaton of the county department of environmental construction. One plan being studied is a solid waste recovery plant that would burn garbage and produce steam or electricity. The other possibility is a bale-fill in a quarry in Travilah, where refuse would be compacted into large bales.
If one of the two alternatives is used in conjunction with the Laytonsville landfill, Laytonsville could be used for 15 years instead of seven, Eaton said.
Meanwhile, the litigation over Laytonsville continues. Sherrod East, 69, whose house will be 20 feet from the edge of the excavation, said he is among about four taxpayers who plan to file suit against the County Council for violating the charter amendment.
Another suit brought by Laystonsville civic groups contests the state health permit issued to the county for the site. It contends the county has suppressed reports indicating the dump would endanger the community's drinking water, and that citizens did not have full access to that information when the state held hearings on the site two years ago. The case is pending in the Baltimore City Circuit Court.
Opponents of the landfill say the ground water level is to high to assure the protection of their wells.They say that in some places, there is only one foot of ground cover above water level, and that a landfill study found that a minimum of 8 feet of soil is required between the landfill and the water level.
The county Council has scheduled a public forum for Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. in the council hearing room, at the request of civic groups who say they have additional data they want to present.