My column this month got started because I was afraid they were going to take away my favorite running trail. When I heard that the county was seeking a vendor to build and operate a small solar demonstration project on the former landfill on New Cut Road my immediate concern was how this would affect the half mile gravel loop that rings the top of the property. Admittedly, it was all about me.
I should note here that the property is posted “No Trespassing” so my running on this path makes me an outlaw. I’m not the only one either. I often encounter other runners and walkers out there as well. It is actually a beautiful spot now that the landfill has been capped and closed.
In any event, as I looked into to this proposed solar project at the closed dump I inadvertently ended up at the current dump, Alpha Ridge, which really isn’t much of a dump anymore. Alpha Ridge is really just a transfer station now. The vast majority of the garbage collected in Howard County doesn’t stay in Howard County. It hops on a train for a ride down to King George County in Virginia. In the world of garbage economics, this has been a good deal for the county but that good deal is about to end. The counties contract with the King George landfill expires in 2013 and it is a pretty good bet that the rate that King George charges us for taking our trash is will increase significantly.
There is another alternative. Instead of renewing the landfill contract and playing around with solar demonstrations, the county should pursue a waste to energy project. In my mind that makes more sense than allocating resources on a solar demonstration project. Sun is not an abundant resource in Maryland but garbage sure is.
You can read this month’s column here.