Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Constellation Proposing Fly Ash Landfill Near Baltimore City

Constellation Energy is proposing a fly ash dump at Millennium Inorganic Chemicals at Curtis Bay, left, near the Chestnut Hill Cove neighborhood in Pasadena, Maryland just over the Baltimore City line. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) granted a tentative approval of the permit for Constellation to build the landfill to dispose of coal combustion byproducts - also known as fly ash - generated at two plants in Pasadena and a third in Baltimore.

MDE will make a final determination after reviewing the comments made at a hearing today, as well as those submitted in writing to MDE headquarters. MDE probably will not make a decision for several months. An EPA ruling is pending that could rule fly ash as a hazardous waste, which could significantly alter how the product, currently labelled nonhazardous, is currently disposed.

Opponents fear the landfill will pose a danger to their health. Proponents not that the Millennium landfill is an "excellent choice" for fly ash disposal because it is already permitted for industrial waste, and the 100 feet of clay at its base provides a good buffer. In 2006, contamination in private wells in the Gambrills area was linked to a nearby fly ash dump owned by Constellation. The landfill would stand about 170 feet in the air.

The Center does not have a position on this proposal, but we generally promote beneficial uses for fly ash, primarily utilizing it to produce concrete. (Maryland Gazette HomeTown GlenBurnie, 3/20/10)

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