Community reacts to “sludge tank” proposed for Mardela Springs
MARDELA SPRINGS, Md. – A new multi-million gallon waste tank could soon be built in Wicomico County. It’s a project that has a lot of people in the community worried about how the area could smell or how it could even effect the roads. After hearing about the proposal for the facility, residents tell 47 ABC they have a lot of concerns.
“Property values are going to go through the toilet when we have a toilet in our backyard,” says Paul Brady, a concerned resident.
A local farmer just received a building permit for a 3 million gallon waste storage tank that locals are fondly referring to as a “sludge” tank. The system would be built on the corner of Riggin Road and Porter Mill Road, an area that residents say is not ideal for large trucks.
“From my understanding it’s going to take 500 trucks just to fill the thing up. And then of course there’s going to be trucks in and out all the time, getting stuff out of it. These roads are just not designed for it,” says Brady.
It’s a problem that officials recognize, given the current condition of the roads. “There’s also problems that it would cause with traffic on that road. It’s a very narrow road. It’s not in great condition as it is and a lot more truck traffic will cause problems,” says Marc Kilmer, Wicomico County Council Member for District 2.
Besides road safety issues, residents tell 47 ABC that bugs will get worse and they don’t think they’ll be able to spend as much time outside in their yards because of the smell it will bring.
“You’re not going to be able to sit out on the deck and eat crabs or even be out in the yard and stuff. It’s just down right going to stink,” says Brady.
Brady also mentioned that he’s concerned that if any of the contaminated water was spilled that it could make the water that goes into his home dirty as well. While residents are expressing frustration, local elected officials say there’s not much they can do because it adheres to current laws.
“As long as things apply to county law as they exist and as they are written today they are able to be built,” says Kilmer.
Officials say that there aren’t any legal issues as to why the facility couldn’t be built in Mardela Springs. But they are still encouraging residents to voice their concerns with the hope that it might change other projects in the future. A Wicomico County Planning & Zoning official says the best thing concerned residents can do is tell their county officials that they want the charter to be changed or contact the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
Elected officials tell 47 ABC that they will not close the door on any options regarding the storage tank. They also say that just because the farmer received a permit, does not necessarily mean it will be built. But the farmer will have 6 months to start construction after the permit is issued and the work must be completed within 3 years.