Draft of QAC’s 10-Year Solid Waste Plan Available
Queen Anne’s County’s draft of the 2015 – 2025 Solid Waste Plan is online for public viewing and comment at qactv.com and it is scheduled to be presented at the March 12, Planning Commission meeting which is open to the public.
“We are interested in hearing from citizens their opinions about curbside trash collection and recycling pickups as well as moving toward a regional waste to energy project,” said Commissioner Paul Comfort .
Each county is required to submit a 10-year Solid Waste Plan, to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). The plan includes an Executive Summary highlighting the content of each chapter along with a listing of goals and recommendations for the next decade.
The draft 2015 – 2025 Solid Waste Plan has been preliminary reviewed by MDE and all municipalities within Queen Anne’s County have been provided a copy for review and the incorporation of their specific municipal collection programs.
A public hearing will be held this spring after the Planning Commission and the County Commissioners review the documents and come to a consensus. The purpose of the public hearing is to receive public comment and begin the formal adoption process.
The Midshore Regional Solid Waste System consists of four planned facilities that will serve the municipal solid waste needs of Talbot, Caroline, Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties for 80 years. This unique partnership is the only regional solid waste management agreement in Maryland, according to Maryland Environmental Service. To date, two of the four landfills have been constructed. Maryland Environmental Service owns and operates both of the landfills. Midshore I, located in Talbot County, was the first landfill built, operating for a successful 20-year period beginning in 1991 and ending on December 31, 2010.
The Midshore II Regional Solid Waste Facility, in Caroline County, began full-scale commercial operation in January 2011. The site will continue to operate for the next 18 years. The average daily solid waste volume received at Midshore II is 400 tons.
Solid waste management regulations and policies exist at the federal, state and local government levels. Traditionally, the federal government has provided the overall regulatory direction and minimum national standards for protecting human health and the environment. The implementation of these regulations is the responsibility of the state and local governments.
MDE administers and implements federal and state solid waste management regulations. Each County is required to prepare and adopt a solid waste management plan, which addresses a 10-year planning period. The plan is reviewed and updated every three years.
The highest priority of this Plan, as established by Queen Anne’s County, is to ensure the conservation of resources and protection of the environment by maximizing waste reduction and recycling, thus minimizing the requirement for disposal facilities.
An equally important priority is the establishment of tighter county and local control over the permitting and operation of required solid waste management facilities. This monitoring program will encourage adherence to permit requirements and serve to inform the county staff and residents of the activities at these facilities.
The Plan provides the framework that will be relied upon to make numerous decisions on the implementation of required capital construction and management programs for the next 10 years. It is the intent of this plan to develop and articulate issues that must be addressed in order to focus the community on the goals and objectives and concepts of solid waste management through open and active public participation. When consensus is reached through this process; additional planning, engineering and community involvement will define the specific settings, technologies, regulations, and policies needed to achieve these goals and objectives. This Plan will be continuously updated to reflect these specific decisions as they are approved.
The Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan addresses the management of solid waste including generation, waste reduction, collection, transportation, processing and disposal.
The recommended plan includes the staging of needed management facilities, organization and the collection system for waste and recyclables, and suggested modifications to county policies and regulations over the next 10 years.
The county’s 10-year goals include continuing with the policy which designates the Midshore II Regional Solid Waste Facility as the sole waste disposal facility for municipal solid waste generated in county and to continue to evaluate and site a new Midshore III Regional Solid Waste Facility within Queen Anne’s County.
The plan calls for continued use of R.B. Baker & Sons, Inc., rubble landfill as the primary disposal site for rubble waste in the county, with the Midshore II Regional Solid Waste Facility serving as the alternate site for rubble waste.
According to the draft plan the county will continue to periodically review the drop-off center operations and fee system to see if it is effectively accomplishing its objectives.
Furthermore, it calls for investigating the merits of a county-administered system of contracted districts for curbside collection of solid waste and possibly recyclables for residential properties. The draft plan calls for the county to proactively promote recycling efforts, and pursue the highest diversion of materials from the waste stream that can be economically handled and to support the Household Hazardous Waste Collection and “eCycle” events sponsored by the Midshore Regional Recycling Program.
Under the plan the county would explore expansion possibilities of the Materials Consolidation Facility with available funding sources in order to centralize additional recyclable processing activities and consider establishing more stringent user policies at the five county-operated drop-off centers with greater enforcement to minimize commercial and out-of-county waste that enters the drop-off center sites from small businesses.
The plan calls for a continued working relationship with regional partners to investigate innovative, emerging and effective policies and technologies. Commissioner Mark Anderson gave the example of researching putrescent waste disposal facilities that handle organic material, decreasing the amount of tonnage that gets buried in the landfill.