Archive for the Environment_local_regional Category

WASTE NOT! EXPO (in Frederick, Saturday, March 28, 2009)

Posted in Environment_local_regional, News_local_regional with tags , , , on March 23, 2009 by Kai Hagen

I’m very pleased to share information about an excellent (and important) event scheduled for THIS SATURDAY, in Frederick.

Please consider attending the WASTE NOT! EXPO on Saturday, March 28th. at 9:30 am.

I won’t include a lot of information here, but will encourage you to click here:

http://wastenotfrederick.org/

…and visit the attractive website set up to offer all the information you’d need or want to know about the Expo, including the schedule, speakers, vendors, sponsors, directions, contact information and other bits (the Mission Statement, press release, etc.)

This is a well planned event, with a variety of activities and information, and an outstanding slate of speakers, all packed into just a few hours on an early spring day.

Even though it is on the website, I can’t help but share here how pleased I am that the organizers of this event were able to get Eric Lombardi to attend as the Keynote Speaker. You can read a few details about Eric on the Waste Not! Expo website, but I wanted to make sure you knew that he is scheduled for 10:00 am. So…don’t come late! And, if you can’t stay for the entire event, consider coming for a while, catching a couple of great speakers and visiting some of the tables.

Also, too HOT OFF THE PRESS to be included on the invitation below: ArrowBio© has agreed to co-sponsor the Expo, and will have a display and information about its integrated solid waste technology. ArrowBio© has been in the news recently as a possible alternative to the proposed Waste-to-Energy incinerator. For more information about the process used by ArrowBio©: http://www.arrowbio.com/

Oh…also worth mentioning…

Childcare (with fun activities) will be provided (in the high school cafeteria) for children at least two years old.

I wouldn’t miss it, and I hope to see you there!

wneposter

As of today: Single Stream recycling is here!

Posted in Environment_local_regional, Frederick County BOCC, News_local_regional with tags , , , on January 26, 2009 by Kai Hagen

Well…single stream recycling has arrived for most single family households in Frederick County. If you’ve received one of the new 65 gallon, wheeled, blue totes, you now know single stream collection has arrived for you!

There are still a lot of folks – including my family – that are not included, yet. But if you live in a single family home, and don’t have a tote, please know that this new program will include you before long (some time in the next few months, sooner or later depending on where you live). Multi-family buildings are also in the plan, but that will also be a gradual process.

Three of the most significant aspects of our new single stream recycling program are:

1) Convenience:  Single stream recycling makes recycling an item as easy as throwing it away. Everything that can be recycled here can be placed in one large container, which can be easily wheeled to the curb, where it will be collected. It’s as easy as knowing whether to drop an item into one container or the other.

2) More convenience: Many households in the county have not had curbside collection of recyclable items/materials. For us, recycling has meant separating and storing items, and periodically loading up the car and hauling it to one of twelve satellite drop-off centers in the county (for me, that has meant a twelve mile round trip). Without question, wheeling a large tote to the curb is much easier than making those trips.

3) More items and materials will now be accepted: A significant list of items and materials that have not been accepted for recycling previously, at the curb or at the drop-off centers, can now be included. Click here to download a pdf file that lists what can be recycled now (and what can not be).

In many different and substantial ways, recycling is good for the environment. And, without question, it is good for the county’s bottom line. Every ton diverted into this stream will reduce the cost of dealing with our “waste.” Click here to read “Top 10 Reasons to Recycle.” 

I’m going to end my comments here, and encourage you to read the two press releases below. If you want or need more information, there are various links, email addresses and phone numbers below.

 

fnp_ss_ad_web

 

DEPARTMENT OF SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT
Office of Recycling
9031 Reich’s Ford Road
Frederick, Maryland 21704
http://www.co.frederick.md.us/recycling

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2009 

SINGLE STREAM COLLECTION OFFICIALLY BEGINS
Curbside Recycling Service Now Improved

FREDERICK, MD—The Frederick Board of County Commissioners and the Department Solid Waste Management announce that single stream curbside collection of recyclable materials begins today for residents in existing service areas. To prepare for the new program, the county has been distributing wheeled recycling carts since November. These carts can now be set out for curbside collection. 

The single stream program also brings other improvements and changes to residential curbside recycling service. The county’s goal is to make recycling an easier, more efficient process in order to increase recycling rates. More materials will now be accepted and less pre-processing of recyclables is required. Residents will no longer have to sort items, effectively making recycling as easy as throwing something away— but with the benefit conserving resources and our environment.

One of the most noticeable changes affects the recycling collection schedule, which is shifting from weekly to biweekly service. For many residents the day of the week for curbside collection is also changing. The county has been divided into ten new regions, five of which be serviced each week by the county’s contact hauler, Allied Waste services. To provide further information on these changes, a flyer has been mailed to every household with curbside service.

Residents with questions about recycling containers, collection schedules and other issues relevant to their curbside service should contact Allied Waste directly by calling 301-694-6498 or by sending an email to frederickrecycles@republicservices.com.

For further information on recycling programs and waste reduction in Frederick County, residents are encouraged to visit www.co.frederick.md.us/recycle.
 

###

 

INFORMATION UPDATE 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

January 26, 2009 

INFORMATION ON THE NEW SINGLE STREAM 
RESIDENTIAL RECYCLING PROGRAM IN FREDERICK COUNTY 

FREDERICK, MD Since November 2008 more than 50,000 County residents have received a new wheeled, lidded container for the collection of recyclable materials. The new carts have generated much interest, a little debate and a great deal of anticipation for when they could actually be set out curbside and used. The Department of Solid Waste Management is pleased to announce that the new single stream curbside collection program officially begins Monday, January 26, 2009. This start date takes effect county-wide, for all single-family homes that have existing recycling service provided by the County. 

The single stream program introduces changes and improvements from the previous curbside recycling service. In an effort to communicate these points and address frequently asked questions as well as to provide notice of upcoming developments for the County’s recycling programs, the Office of Recycling has put together this Information Update. In addition to the points discussed here new information is being placed on the Office of Recycling’s website, http://www.co.frederick.md.us/recycling, with more updates to be posted online in the coming weeks. 

Who Can Recycle 

 At this time the improved recycling program is being implemented only in areas of the County that have existing curbside service. However, the Board of County Commissioners have voted to expand curbside recycling service to all single family homes in Frederick County, approximately 17,000 additional residences. The expansion of curbside recycling service to new households will begin in early spring 2009. As these homes are delivered recycling collection containers and program information they will be able to begin participating immediately. 

Currently only single family homes are provided with curbside recycling collection. Later in 2009 the Department of Solid Waste Management will be conducting a pilot program to test opportunities for multi-family dwellings such as apartments and condominiums to be provided with recycling collection service. 

Single Stream Curbside Service 

Single stream recycling means that no sorting of materials is required. Paper, plastics, glass and metal recyclables can all be placed in one container, no matter whether an 18-gallon bin or a larger wheeled cart is used. A complete list of recyclable—and non-recyclable—items is posted on the Office of Recycling’s website, http://www.co.frederick.md.us/recycling

Excess materials that cannot fit inside the container can be paced next to it in a cardboard box, paper bag or smaller, open-top container. If it can fit inside a collection container, cardboard does not need to be broken down and paper does not have to be bundled and tied. 

Carts should be set out curbside no later than 6 am on the day of collection. Carts should be placed with the wheels towards the curb, lid opening towards the street and at least four feet away from possible obstructions such as cars, trees and mailboxes. 

Allied Waste Services has been contracted by Frederick County to both perform single stream curbside collection of residential recycling and also to provide customer service for the new program. Questions about collection schedules, recycling containers, service issues and other relevant concerns should be addressed directly to Allied Waste by calling 301-694-6498 or sending email to: frederickrecycles@republicservices.com 

Curbside collection has switched from a weekly to an every-other-week schedule. All residents in areas with curbside service have been mailed a new collection schedule, program information and reminder stickers to help ease the transition to the new program. 

In the near future residents will be able to go online to the County Office of Recycling’s website to find their recycling collection dates. An interactive feature being created with cooperation from the County GIS and Information Technology Departments will allow residents to enter their street address and be provided with the collection schedule specific to their street. This feature is expected to be online in the next two weeks. 

Recycling Containers 

No matter what size or type of container is used, all recycling is now single stream, requiring no more sorting. 

Many residents in areas with existing service have ordered a wheeled cart—as a size-exchange, a townhome order, or to make up for an error in the original delivery of carts. These carts are being delivered as inventory and staff schedules allow. Residents on the wait-list are asked to please continue using an 18-gallon bin or other container until their new cart arrives in the next two to six weeks. 

Residents who are using a wheeled recycling cart are asked to return the previously-used 18 gallon bins that are the property of Frederick County. During the month of February these bins can be set out curbside—EMPTY—on the scheduled recycling pick-up day and they will be collected for use in other recycling programs. 

Residents who have purchased their own 18-gallon bins and/or lids may keep these as they are not County property. 

Residents who will use an 18-gallon bin as their ONLY recycling container may continue to place these out at the curb with materials inside and these will not be taken for reuse. 

Each of the new wheeled recycling carts has a bar code linking it to a specific street address. If you move to another location in Frederick County, your cart will stay behind at the residence it is linked to and you will use the container bar-coded to correspond to your new address. 

The cart’s bar code will be scanned each time your recyclables are collected. This creates a record of when collection has occurred, to assist in the event of service problems. The code is used only to record when any particular cart has participated in curbside collection, but does not record what or how much was in the cart. This process also allows data about regional participation rates for the recycling program to be gathered. 

Other Recycling Options 

For residents in households or areas where curbside service is not yet provided, the County operates twelve satellite drop-off centers for recyclable materials. These service centers will allow the commingling of all materials except cardboard, which will still need to be separated and flattened. Further information and maps for each drop-off center are found by visiting: http://www.co.frederick.md.us/recycling

Appearance on WFMD about the new single stream recycling program

Posted in Environment_local_regional, Frederick County BOCC, Incinerator (WTE) with tags , , , on January 16, 2009 by Kai Hagen

I was invited to speak with Bob Miller today, during his regular morning radio program on WFMD, the “Morning News Express.”

The primary subject of the conversation was Frederick County’s new single stream recycling program (along with a few general recycling matters, and a brief exchange about the proposed “Waste-to-Energy” incinerator).

If you’d like to listen, go to http://www.wfmd.com/cc-common/podcast.html and scroll to “County Commissioner Kai Hagen talked with Bob about the counties single stream recycling program.”

mnemain_04

New Report – “Where Do We Grow From Here?”

Posted in Environment_local_regional, Planning and Development with tags , , , on January 13, 2009 by Kai Hagen

The Task Force on the Future for Growth and Development in Maryland just released a new report, entitled “Where Do We Grow From Here?”

From the task force’s home page on the website for the Maryland Department of Planning:

The Task Force presented its report to Governor O’Malley at his “Smart, Green & Growing” press conference on January 12, 2009. The report, entitled “Where Do We Grow from Here?,” presents an assessment of current conditions in the State and outlines over 50 recommendations for furthering smart, sustainable growth in Maryland.

“Maryland has long been a national leader in progressive land use policy, from the creation of the first state planning commission in 1933 to the well-known Smart Growth legislation of 1997. More than a decade after the advent of Smart Growth, however, we continue to face significant land use challenges,” said Jon Laria, Chair of the task force. “Maryland is a wonderful place to live, but expected population growth promises increased pressure on farmlands, forests, and waterways, including our precious Chesapeake Bay and the window of opportunity to confront and solve these challenges is shrinking.”

Click here to view or download the report (as a 5mb pdf file). And click here to view the appendices.

The report is broad in its scope, but includes a great deal of excellent and fairly detailed information, and an ambitious list of relatively specific recommendations.

The report is not short. But it well written, and very well organized, with discreet sections, and an ample offering of informative, engaging and attractive photographs, maps and graphics. If you have the interest and time, it’s worth reading cover to cover. But even if you are not so inclined, I encourage you to browse the document, and read what most catches your attention, or, at least, consider reading the executive summary and the summary of recommendations.

report_cover_web

I don’t agree with each and every one of the recommendations exactly as presented. And I’ve heard others express sincere concerns about the degree to which it reflects or is part of a trend toward greater state intrusion into local land use planning (and authority). But I’m not going to delve into those concerns and controversies here and now.

Rather, I hope you’ll take some time to review the report and recommendations without filtering it through my criticisms.

Night sky a treasure to preserve

Posted in Environment_local_regional, Environment_national_global, Nature with tags on December 29, 2008 by Kai Hagen

Late one night this past week, I was reminded of one of the genuine benefits of living in one of the more remote parts of Frederick County. The night was clear and cold, there was no moon, and the dark sky was filled with stars.

Of course, “remote” and dark are relative terms here. Nothing is so remote and dark in Frederick County that the night sky can compare to the stunning starscape that is a frequent as clear skies in some places – in a diminishing number of places, unfortunately.

With that crisp night fresh in my mind, I’m posting a column I wrote about the subject a few years ago, followed by a few excellent links for those of you who might want to explore the issue a bit more.

———-

Night sky a treasure to preserve
http://2006.kaihagen.com/Kai/columns/030418.html

Frederick News Post
April 18, 2003

by Kai Hagen

“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

When Joni Mitchell wrote “Big Yellow Taxi” 30 years ago, she managed to capture a big idea in a few simple lines.

“They took all the trees and put ’em in a tree museum.
And they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em .”

The trees lost served as a poetic metaphor for the destruction of natural places and the loss of natural beauty in our lives. But Mitchell probably never imagined it might apply to something as immutable and beyond our reach as the night sky itself.

Dramatic change can come quickly, even all at once. More often, however, it seems big changes come gradually, a little bit here, a little bit there. So slowly it is almost imperceptible. When that is so, perhaps it would be more accurate to say “that you don’t know what you had when it’s gone.”

So it has been with many things. Changes happen over the years, over decades, over generations. And often, we don’t even know what we are missing.

For many years, Frederick was small enough and far enough from big cities to provide something special – even stunning and inspirational – with only an upward gaze on a clear night. But the Washington and Baltimore areas have gotten bigger and closer and brighter, and Frederick and other towns in the county have gotten bigger and brighter, too.

We are losing – have lost – something people for almost all of time have taken for granted. Other than astronomers – and a few poets – most of us probably haven’t given much thought to light pollution. But, children in Frederick County are well on the way to joining the three-fourths of Americans who grow up without being able to see the Milky Way. The wonders of fireworks and laser light shows, and the glow of television sets and video games, are replacing the natural wonders of a star-filled night sky for children today

We are all-too-familiar with the concept of air pollution or water pollution. And, though we might disagree about some of the particulars, virtually everyone supports efforts to protect our air and water, and ourselves, from those sources of pollution. We’ve also become familiar with the notion of noise pollution. We recognize that noise can be a public nuisance, even a health hazard. We put mufflers on motors. We build sound barriers along highways. We establish noise limits in workplaces and parks and neighborhoods. And so on.

We ought pay attention to the issue of light pollution, too.

Light pollution is the upward and outward distribution of light where it isn’t intended or isn’t needed. Light pollution can be the glare of direct light that makes it hard to see or causes discomfort. Some light pollution can be described as light trespass, which refers to light shining on neighbors when that light is intrusive or objectionable. Sky glow refers to the overall glow that comes from towns, cities, and other developed areas.

It’s not simply a matter of aesthetics and star-gazing, either. A growing body of scientific research is revealing that light pollution, or the lack of darkness, is associated with a wide range of other significant problems affecting natural systems and human health, too many to describe here.

But there’s good news about light pollution.

Because light pollution is really a symptom of waste, most of the solutions to the problem make good sense for many reasons. It’s a win-win situation. Perhaps as much as a third of all the light we produce is complete waste. We are paying to shine lights we want where it doesn’t serve our purposes. In addition to reducing light pollution, using more efficient lighting reduces energy consumption. That reduces the direct cost of lighting, as well as the consumption of other resources, like coal and oil, and the generation of all the air and water pollution that comes with it.

Separately, it might be a good idea to ask how much of the light we use is really necessary, even when we produce and use it efficiently. For example, do we need bright security lights on all night where motion-sensitive lights will do? Do we really need to illuminate gas stations and convenience stores at levels that are 3 to 10 times the levels recommended by Illuminating Engineering Society of North America?

We are fortunate that light pollution is a lot different from PCB pollution in our rivers or CFC pollution in the upper atmosphere. When we use lights more efficiently, or turn them off altogether, the light pollution ends. There is nothing left to clean up.

Even if and when we change all the activities and reduce the pollution that has diminished the Chesapeake Bay, it will take generations to restore something resembling what was once there.

But the starry sky is still there, unchanged. We just can’t see it.

So, when you are fortunate enough to be in a place where it is still dark enough to see the entire sky shimmering with stars, think how much less beauty there would be in Frederick County without it.

usa_at_night_web

A Google search on “light pollution” will provide a long list of links. Here are three:

International Dark-Sky Association
http://www.darksky.org/

SkyandTelescope.com – Saving Dark Skies
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/resources/darksky
including a short piece about Jennifer Barlow, a “Dark-sky Devotee” who, as a high-school student in Virginia, decided to do something about light pollution:
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/resources/darksky/3307451.html

In November, the National Geographic magazine published an article entitled: “Our Vanishing Night”
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/light-pollution/klinkenborg-text
…which included a nice photo gallery:
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/light-pollution/richardson-photography

“Of all the pollutions we face, light pollution is perhaps the most easily remedied.”
– Verlyn Klinkenborg,

FNP: Aldermen approve annexations

Posted in Environment_local_regional, News_local_regional, Planning and Development with tags , , on December 19, 2008 by Kai Hagen

The article and graphic below were published in the Frederick News Post today. For the last year and a half or so, the City of Frederick has been engaged in a consideration of more than a dozen annexations requests, large and small.

The broader discussion and the process ratcheted up a notch when Mayor Jeff Holtzinger decided it was time to rescind an executive order from the prior administration barring new annexations (a moratorium that was never intended to be permanent).

Much of the process for a while was about…well…the process: How to go about dealing with all the annexation requests. One outcome of that process was a decision to deal with the requests a few at a time. The two annexations approved this week were not as controversial as some of the other requests (properties) are certain to be.

There are a few that are of great concern to me, for a variety of reasons. I’m not going to dive into the particulars in this entry, but will do so in the coming weeks and months.

—————————

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?StoryID=84186

Frederick News Post
December 19, 2008

By Adam Behsudi

Frederick will grow for the first time in nearly a decade, with the addition of two areas featuring a new shopping center with plans for a grocery store and the expansion of a retirement community.

The Board of Aldermen voted 5-0 in two separate motions to allow the two properties into the city limits.

The annexations include the Clemson property located at Md. 26 and Wormans Mill Road. The 43-acre property will include 350,000 square feet of retail space featuring a Wegmans supermarket and a Lowe’s hardware store.

The other annexed property would add more than 72 acres to the city to expand the Homewood retirement community at U.S. 15 and Willow Road. The project would add 345 housing units to the community.

“The process has been a long one,” said attorney Andrew DiPasquale, who represents the Homewood application.

The annexations are among 14 property owners who last February expressed interest in becoming part of the city.

But the two projects will take years to be developed and are subject to approval from the Frederick County Commissioners. They will also contribute to surrounding infrastructure.

The Homewood expansion would relieve demand for housing units. More than 400 people are waiting for a unit in the retirement community, DiPasquale said.

The Homewood annexation would contribute more than $860,000 to the city. The developer would also dedicate a two-lane road on the east side of the property bordering U.S. 15 where 60 feet of right of way would be contributed.

The Clemson property to be developed by FCD-Development LLC will include an enclave of land surrounded on most sides by the city.

The developer will contribute $500,000 to the city for use in infrastructure improvements including the construction of Monocacy Boulevard. The development will bring about $400,000 of additional property tax revenue to the city, said Bruce Dean, an attorney for the developer.

“We’re going to write a check, and the city can do with that money what it wants,” Dean said.

Aldermen discussed the option of addressing water allocation rules at a later date and agreed that developments being currently built would have access to water.

“My intent was to make sure those already in the process are protected,” said Alderman Alan Imhoff.

annexationgraphic081219web

EDITED on December 23rd to add the following related link:

Gazette.Net

Frederick city approves two annexations
One would allow retirement community to expand by 345 residents

http://www.gazette.net/stories/12212008/frednew75827_32478.shtml
by Connor Adams Sheets

Carroll County Times: Incinerator decision should be made in January

Posted in Environment_local_regional, Frederick County BOCC, Incinerator (WTE), News_local_regional with tags , , on December 19, 2008 by Kai Hagen

The following article was published in the Carroll County Times today.

For those of you who are less familiar with the incinerator debate in Frederick County, the current proposal (which I do not support) is to construct a 1,500 tons per day facility, in Frederick County, that would serve both Frederick County and Carroll County (our neighbor to the east). The costs and utilization would be split on 60/40 basis (with Frederick County being the 60% partner).

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http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/articles/2008/12/19/news/local_news/newsstory9.txt

Carroll County Times
Friday, December 19, 2008

By Carrie Ann Knauer, Times Staff Writer

The Carroll County Board of Commissioners can expect to have a service contract with a vendor to operate a proposed bi-county waste-to-energy incinerator in late January, County Public Works Director Mike Evans said Thursday.

The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority received best and final offers on Dec. 4 from two companies competing to build and operate a 1,500-ton per day capacity waste-to-energy incinerator that would be shared by Carroll and Frederick counties.

Evans told the commissioners Thursday that the plans that were submitted are still being changed daily, and that the authority is waiting until the numbers are finalized to bring the plans forward to the counties.

Evans said the service contract should be finalized relatively soon, and then will be sent to the Frederick County Board of Commissioners. The Frederick board will then have the option to approve the contract, and could author-ize the vendor to go forward with engineering and permitting, subject to Carroll County’s board approving the contract.

The engineering and permitting process is expected to take 15 months, Evans said, and then each county will have to make one last decision before the sale of bonds to fund the project.

Commissioner Dean Minnich expressed concerns about how the cost of the project, which was expected to be a total of $350 million last year, is likely to change due to the country’s economic situation.

Evans said that the authority does not predict a change in the profits the incinerator would be able to make through the production of electricity from burning the waste, and that the costs for disposing of waste should re-main fairly steady over the 30-year term while the counties are paying off the construction of the incinerator.

The authority is also working on a memorandum of understanding that will set the conditions for the long term relationship between Carroll, Frederick and the authority for the operation of the incinerator, Evans said. The memorandum establishes a 40/60 relationship between the two counties, with Carroll being the smaller side, based on the amount of waste each side is expected to bring to the incinerator. This agreement should also be finalized in January, he said.

Reach staff writer Carrie Ann Knauer at 410-857-7874 or carrie.knauer@carrollcountytimes.com.