Archive for the News_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:

…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©:

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!



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.




Office of Recycling
9031 Reich’s Ford Road
Frederick, Maryland 21704


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2009 

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

For further information on recycling programs and waste reduction in Frederick County, residents are encouraged to visit




January 26, 2009 


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,, 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,

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: 

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:

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.


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.


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


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


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

FNP Editorial: Right vs Rush

Posted in Frederick County BOCC, Incinerator (WTE), News_local_regional with tags , on December 15, 2008 by Kai Hagen

The Frederick News Post published the following editorial last Thursday. In their reference to my November 18th presentation, I would have liked to see a bit more emphasis on the alternative I proposed, and the serious economic risks associated with a decades-long commitment to an over-sized “waste-to-energy” facility.

Nevertheless, with so much focus on the financial uncertainties and risks the last few months, it was good to see another call for a serious “risk assessment,” and a thoughtful reminder of the public health and environmental concerns, which are too often dismissed outright with a reference to current EPA standards.


Right vs Rush

Frederick News Post
December 11, 2008

The issue that’s brought “No Incinerator” signs to the front yards of numerous Frederick residences has also brought national attention to states like ours that are grappling with the pros and cons of building waste-to-energy plants.

Investigating the topic in its Dec. 6-7 issue, The Wall Street Journal looked at controversies surrounding combustion-based waste treatment options by observing that “opposition has cropped up against proposals in California, Maryland and elsewhere.”

It seems we are not alone. Not so, for Kai Hagen.

He’s the only Frederick County commissioner opposed to the idea of building a WTE incinerator in Frederick, recently developing a PowerPoint presentation to elucidate his stance and outline alternatives. A Nov. 19 News-Post story said an audience of “about 100 people” gathered for the show, coming as it did on the cusp of the review of the two final incinerator-build bids which, at that time, commissioners expected to have before the board by the end of the year. Estimated expenditure: $350 million.

Hagen articulated multiple criticisms of the “uncertain assumptions” being made by the pro-incinerator-leaning board. One involves population growth and per-household trash production predictions. The other hinges on questions surrounding future environmental regulations, meaning those likely to be enacted down the road.

Face it, regardless of how “attractive” the idea of waste-incineration-energy-recovery seems, it must be implemented with negative human health and environment impacts. Period. A seriously tall order in light of one Earthjustice spokesman’s observation: “There’s really a toxic soup that comes out of incinerators.”

As it turns out, Hagen’s “we don’t know” regarding future environmental requirements is accompanied by the “we can’t say” implication of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent actions — the very agency upon which we’d be relying for WTE emissions guidelines. Seems the EPA now is reviewing the 13-year-old standards it applies to WTE plants and, which environmentalists assert, are “way less protective” than those mandated by the Clean Air Act.

How can that be? We trust the EPA will answer that question, rectify and strengthen its WTE environmental protection standards, and let the rest of us in on it.

The upshot of Hagen’s PowerPoint presentation was the commissioners’ request that Hagen draft a study proposal that includes the WTE risk assessment he had requested. That should take a while, and the commissioners don’t seem to be champing at the bit to make an incinerator decision any time soon. Not only is that OK, it’s appropriate.

Understanding the risk-reward trade-offs in this situation is critical. Hagen got it right when he said: “It is more important to make the right decision than a rush decision.” His audience got it right, too.

They applauded.