The Post's story "Montgomery Confronts Mountain of Trouble With Trash" {Metro, June 18} was one-sided. There are a number of flaws in what the reporter was told by county officials.

There are many recent studies that show most ash from trash incineration is a toxic substance. The level of toxicity can be argued over, but much of municipal waste ash fails the Environmental Protection Agency toxicity test.

An incinerator is really a chemical factory. It will reduce the amount of waste stream by volume and by weight; however, this is an oversimplification. The process concentrates all the heavy metals found in the waste, and it produces chlorinated hydrocarbons that were not there to begin with. Thus, fewer materials go to the landfill, but the level of waste stream toxicity increases. With a full-stream landfill, the concentration of the toxic substances is spread out because of its lower concentration. It takes more landfills, but the local ground water is contaminated less. With an ash landfill the toxic residue from the trash is highly concentrated. As a result, the long-term risk of serious ground-water pollution is greatly increased.

The principal reason for reducing our dependency on landfills is a matter of public health: the protection of our ground water. There is serious concern that incineration ash will eventually pollute the local ground water in a more serious way than a full-stream landfill would. The only way to protect the ground water for the long term is to reduce the waste going to landfills by recycling much of our garbage.

The county has dragged its feet for years over any responsible recycling program. Even today, when we have our feet to the fire, officials maintain that the county's 7 percent recycling rate is all that is possible. Recycling has reached levels as high as 40 percent in this country. Some leadership.

THOMAS M. PROCTOR JR.

Barnesville