'Triple-A-Rated' Stench

Montgomery County doesn't need to hire a ''triple-A''-rated nose to detect the foul odors from the sludge composting facility, known as "Site 2," in Silver Spring {"Wanted: Human Bloodhound", Metro, May 21}. An average nose will do. And it can be miles from the site. As part of Montgomery's good-neighbor policy, the huge facility was located near the Montgomery/Prince George's border over the strong objection of residents in both counties.

Rather than hire a sniffer to conduct a repeat testing, Montgomery County officials should read and believe the reports from earlier studies they commissioned, that documented the odor problem from Site 2. In addition, they should ask local people who regularly work outside about the odors. For example, just ask the grocery store employees who help load grocery bags into cars at the Colesville, White Oak, Cherry Hill and Briggs Chaney shopping centers. I have done so, and a common response is ''Yeah, I smell that odor quite often -- what is it?'' It is definitely time for Montgomery County officials to stop playing the adversary and start listening to, and believing, the people they are supposed to represent. ROBERT F. BENSON Silver Spring