Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (Jan. 13, 2005) – On Jan. 5, the Baltimore County Department of Public Works and Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) signed two Consent Orders to resolve violations of environmental laws at the Hernwood Sanitary Landfill and the Eastern Landfill. Baltimore County also agreed to complete a Supplemental Environmental Project where the county will establish a permanent electronic equipment drop-off recycling center in Cockeysville. The county’s actions are a significant step towards improving the environmental safety of the Patapsco River and Gunpowder Falls.

“MDE has been working closely with county officials since August to determine the most effective way to remedy the serious environmental problems at these landfills,” said MDE Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick. “We are very pleased that we have reached an agreement to address these issues and that Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith, Jr., brought this long standing issue to settlement.”

In July 2004, MDE issued two proposed enforcement actions and penalties to the county for water pollution, sediment control, and solid waste violations at the landfills. MDE sought corrective action for the Hernwood Sanitary Landfill for discharging pollutants from the landfill’s leachate collection system into an unnamed tributary to the North Branch of the Patapsco River and failing to maintain an adequate cap on the landfill. In addition, MDE sought corrective action for discharging leachate and sediment to non-tidal wetlands draining to the Gunpowder Falls, failure to maintain cover over wastes and adequate stabilization of landfill slopes to prevent erosion and burial of scrap tires in the landfill. The actions sought by the state and agreed to by Baltimore County respond to conditions that are a result of difficulties encountered with upgrading operations at landfills developed in the 1950s and ‘60s prior to modern controls.

In addition, the county must pay $3,000 in penalties for the violations. Also the county must complete a Supplemental Environmental Project to reduce the quantity of potentially hazardous materials that are disposed in landfills or waste-to-energy facilities by establishing a permanent drop-off recycling center for electronic equipment from Baltimore County citizens. This facility will be complete by October, 2006 and will be located at the Baltimore County Resource Recovery Facility at 10320 York Road.

With funding assistance from MDE, Baltimore County held the largest single electronics collection event in Maryland last April. The event drew 1,170 residents and collected more than 118,000 pounds of electronics for recycling.

“We are excited that Baltimore County will be establishing a permanent electronics collection facility as a result of this enforcement action,” said Horacio Tablada, director of MDE’s Waste Management Administration. “It is apparent that county citizens are highly motivated to recycle these valuable materials. Data from permanent electronics collection facilities in other Maryland jurisdictions shows that this is the most effective means for collecting these types of discarded items.”

MDE will closely monitor Baltimore County’s actions to ensure completion of the corrective actions required by the consent orders.