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Frequently Asked Questions about the Landfill

  • 1. How many operating landfills does Anne Arundel County own?
    One. The Millersville Landfill and Resource Recovery Facility is the only operating municipal solid waste disposal facility in the County.
  • 2. When did the landfill first open?
    September 1975.
  • 3. When do you expect the landfill to be full?
    At our current disposal rate, we expect our existing active disposal area (Cell 9) to last beyond 2045.

    Landfill life depends on many variables, such as the amount of waste generated within the County, how much is recycled or diverted to other facilities, our ability to compact the buried trash, and the volume of soil and other materials used to cover the trash.  Cell 9 is our last permitted disposal area on the site.  Our goal is to extend the life of Cell 9 as long as possible by increasing residential and commercial recycling rates, diverting waste to other facilities, and minimizing the amount of trash that we bury. 
  • 4. How much does it cost to run the landfill?
    The FY21 approved budget is $5.1 million.
  • 5. Where is the landfill?
    The Millersville Landfill & Resource Recovery Facility is located at 389 Burns Crossing Road, Severn, MD 21144.  From Route 32 westbound, take the exit for Burns Crossing Road to the traffic light. At this traffic light, turn right on to Burns Crossing Road. Travel approximately 1/4 mile to another traffic light at Pascal Blvd; this is the entrance to the landfill portion of the facility. 
    From Route 32 eastbound, take the exit for Burns Crossing Road and turn right onto Sappington Station Road. At the next light, turn left onto Burns Crossing Road. Travel approximately 1/4 mile to another traffic light at Pascal Blvd.; this is the entrance to the landfill portion of the facility.
  • 6. How big is the landfill and how much trash is buried there?
    The Facility is located on 565 acres. Approximately 261 acres of the site are designated as closed, active or future disposal areas.  Through 2021, approximately 8.6 million tons of waste have been buried at the landfill.  Currently, about 140,000 tons of trash are buried annually. 
  • 7. Who can bring trash to the landfill?
    The Facility accepts commercial and residential waste from Anne Arundel County businesses and residents only. Of course we encourage everyone to reuse and recycle as much as possible.  Fees apply to some customers and loads.
  • 8. What does the landfill accept and what does it not accept?
    For a complete listing, please see our Materials Accepted page. Our goal is to expand the materials accepted in our recycling program. The County continues to work with processors to find outlets for these materials and expand recycling opportunities whenever possible.  Click here for more information.
  • 9. What can I recycle at the landfill?
    Customers can recycle paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, steel, scrap metal, yard waste, brush, rubble, cardboard, tires, rims, rigid plastics, and electronics at the Facility.  
  • 10. If I have recyclables mixed in with my trash will they be separated?
    Once the material is deposited in the landfill, we will not separate the recyclables from trash for safety reasons.  Therefore, it is very important to separate your recyclables from your trash to ensure that all items that can be recycled are recycled. All landfill customers are routed through a recycling area and have an opportunity to recycle all they can before they reach the disposal area. 
  • 11. What happens to all of the recyclables that are dropped off there?
    Paper, plastic, metal, and glass are taken to Waste Management Recycle America in Elkridge, Maryland.  From there, the items are sorted and sold to companies that manufacture new materials. 
    Scrap metal and white goods (household appliances) are sold to scrap metal contractors, Freon is removed from refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners and the scrap metal is also sold. Rubble (asphalt, concrete and brick) is crushed and applied as road base material at the Facility site and given away for free to residents.  Brush is separated, ground into mulch and used to create driving surfaces throughout the Facility. It is also used for temporary soil erosion control in the active landfill area.  Wood waste that is greater than 6” in diameter is separated for customers to take for firewood.  Grass and leaves are separated, ground into small pieces and used to create compost.  The compost is used on-site or sold to vendors.   Roofing shingles are separated and taken to a recycling facility where they are processed to make asphalt and other products.
  • 12. Does the landfill sell anything to residents?
    No.  However, mulch, firewood and rubble are available for free pickup by residents, when supplies are available.  Call Customer Service at (410) 222-6108 for more information.
  • 13. Why do I have to drive to the recycling area first before I drop off my trash?
    All landfill customers are routed through the recycling area before arriving at the landfill’s trash disposal area.  We encourage customers to recycle as much as possible before disposing of any non-recyclable trash in the landfill.
  • 14. Can I take materials from the landfill?
    Scavenging (searching through trash) is illegal because it is dangerous and unhealthy.  Mulch, firewood and rubble (i.e. bricks, cinder blocks, concrete, etc.) are sometimes available for free pickup by residents.  Call Customer Service at (410) 222-6108 for more information.
  • 15. How much does it cost to bring trash to the landfill?
    Commercial customers and some residential customers are charged to unload according to our Fee Schedule.
  • 16. I have large items I cannot bring myself. Do you offer a pick-up service?
    You may put large (bulky) plastic and trash items curbside for pickup on your collection day. Click here for more information  Call Customer Service at (410) 222-6100 to arrange for pickup of large metal items and refrigerated appliances.
  • 17. What are your hours?
    Monday through Saturday, 8:00 am until 4:00 pm. 
  • 18. Can I come in a car?
    If you bring small loads transported in a car, van or small pick up truck, we prefer that you use the adjacent citizen’s Recycling Center.   At this facility, customers can recycle paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, steel, scrap metal, yard waste, brush, cardboard, tires, rims, rigid plastics, used oil and antifreeze, and electronics and can also dispose of trash.
  • 19. Can I pay with a credit card?
    Yes.  The Facility accepts cash, personal and company checks (payable to  AACO), and Visa®, MasterCard®, and Discover® credit cards as payment.  See Landfill Fee Information.
  • 20. What will happen when the landfill is full?
    Our vision is to preserve the life of this valuable asset as long as possible to serve the needs of our citizens well into the future.
    Well before the landfill is full, the County will determine the best strategy for managing waste after the Facility reaches capacity.
  • 21. I have other questions or comments, who do I contact?
    Please contact the Landfill Manager at 410-222-6108.
  • 22. What protects the environment from what’s buried in the landfill?
    All modern municipal waste landfills are designed to protect the environment.   Leachate (i.e., precipitation or stormwater runoff that comes in contact with the trash) and gases that are produced within the landfill are captured and processed so that they do not harm the environment.  Landfill disposal areas (i.e., cells) are designed with protective barrier layers called “liners” below the trash.  Leachate is collected on top of the liner and pumped to a facility for treatment.  Once the cell is filled, another barrier layer called a “cap” is placed on top of the trash and sealed to the lower liners.  This prevents additional precipitation from entering the cell.  The landfill cell is also designed with gas wells to remove gases that are generated as the trash decomposes.  This gas is conveyed to a landfill gas to electricity plant located at the facility where it is beneficially used as a fuel source for generating electricity.   The cells of the landfill are constantly under observation, testing and maintenance to ensure proper environmental protection.
  • 23. What is a cell?
    A cell in reference to a landfill is an area of the landfill where trash is buried.  The landfill cell is designed to protect the environment and typically includes a bottom liner and leachate collection system, and a final capping and landfill gas extraction system.   Currently, eight out of nine cells at the Facility have been filled and capped.  We are currently filling Cell 9.
  • 24. What happens to all of the methane gas that is produced?
    The trash buried in a landfill slowly decomposes.  The decomposition process is complex and produces gas, which is primarily methane and carbon dioxide.  The landfill gas is captured by a series of extraction wells placed throughout the landfill.  A blower station is used to pull the gas from the landfill and convey it to a landfill gas to electricity (LFGE) facility where it is used to generate electricity. When the LFGE facility is down for routine maintenance, the landfill gas is burned in an enclosed flare in accordance with state and federal requirements. 
    The LFGE facility generates approximately 3.2 Megawatts (3,200 kilowatts) of electricity, which is sent to the local power grid.  This is enough energy to meet the average electricity demands for nearly 2,000 households.  The County receives revenue from the sale of electricity under an agreement with Baltimore Gas and Electric and PJM Interconnection.   The landfill will produce gas in increasing amounts over the next few decades, so electricity production will be sustained long into the future.
  • 25.  What is being done to minimize smells, noise, litter and dust, a great concern for many residents, especially those that live near the landfill?
    We cover the buried trash with soil to minimize odors.   We perform twice daily odor inspections, annual surface emissions testing and quarterly gas migration testing.   We use trained personnel to perform operation and maintenance of our landfill gas system to ensure that the system is operating properly. 
    We use litter fence around the active disposal area to catch windblown litter.  We perform daily litter pickup on-site and routine litter pickup on adjacent public roadways.  The majority of our on-site roadways are paved to minimize dust generation.   In addition, we use a water truck to control dust on our paved and unpaved roadways.  This operation is performed several times a day during dry periods.   We use berms and other site features to create visual and noise barriers between the landfill and our neighbors.