Prince George's County is facing a looming trash crisis that needs immediate attention from county leaders, according to a task force established to advise the county on its solid waste management plan.
The task force, which recently completed a nearly year-long review, told the Prince George's County Council that the county's only disposal site for municipal waste is rapidly approaching capacity.
"The county is facing a crisis if it does not address this issue very quickly," said Charles L. Renninger, chairman of the Environmental Justice Task Force.
The current capacity of the Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill, located about 2.5 miles northwest of Upper Marlboro, is 6.7 million cubic yards. With a loss of at least 1 million cubic yards each year, the task force estimates that the landfill will reach its life expectancy in 2010.
Renninger said the county has requested a permit to increase the capacity at the Brown State Road landfill, but, he noted, the expansion will not resolve the county's trash woes.
Council member Samuel H. Dean (D-Mitchellville) agreed.
"I have a major concern around Brown Station," said Dean, whose district includes the landfill. "As long as we keep looking at Brown Station, we're not looking at other alternatives."
Renninger, who has lobbied for the county to close the Brown State Road landfill, said the county needs to identify a site for a transfer station to consolidate its waste into larger loads and send it to landfills or incinerators outside the county.
Council member Thomas R. Hendershot (D-New Carrollton) said he thinks the county needs to focus on building a transfer station in the next five to seven years.
Council member David Harrington (D-Bladensburg) said he agreed that the county needed to take some steps to address the trash problems but cautioned against moving ahead without more community involvement.
"I just hope we don't just look at building transfer stations without community input," Harrington said.
After the discussion, the council voted to create a solid waste advisory committee. Establishing the committee was one of the task force's recommendations. The committee's duties will include improving public involvement.