Dayton Rural Preservation Society

Supporting the preservation of rural farmland in HoCo, Md

Letter from the President...

Fellow Supporters,

This is serious business. For four years Mary Kay Sigaty has been working against the health and safety of your children and your families, first with the Mulch Task Force, then with CB60-2017 and CB21-2018 where she decided that Type 2 feedstock, defined as food waste, animal mortality and manure, could be trucked in for composting on farmland, all to be trucked out for commercial sale. She thought this was a good idea for Howard County, but only the case if you are one of the industrial mulch/compost facility owners playing farmer that the bills she sponsored favor. What do we think? We think Sigaty has shown poor leadership and been completely irresponsible when it comes to safeguarding the health and welfare of your families.

We worked hard as a community to fight back against this nonsense and protect our rights to basic health and safety in our neighborhoods from the possibility of Howard County farmland turning into satellite landfills (aka garbage dumps). The problem remaining, however, is that Mary Kay Sigaty is now running for a Maryland State Senate seat where she will take her same skewed thinking and continue to plague us with a disregard for your health and safety. Maryland House Bill HB-171, which is being considered right now, focuses on creating statewide rules for composting with “yard waste, food residuals and other organic materials.” Does anyone really want Sigaty in a position to be a part of any decision-making that concerns the health and welfare of our families?

Please remember, for four years Mary Kay Sigaty was dismissive of our health and safety concerns relating to industrial mulching/composting on farmland. She pretended to be a medical expert capable of analyzing and rejecting the well-documented facts laid out by renowned physicians, true medical experts, and environmental scientists concerning the many evidence-based health risks associated with industrial mulch and compost with food/animal waste. She portrayed herself as more knowledgeable than the experts of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During multiple County Council sessions she completely ignored the potentially fatal dangers of endless streams of tractor-trailers full of mulch on small rural roads that could wind up killing children waiting for their school bus, which is exactly what happened in March 2017 to two innocent children in rural Virginia. Why is she willing to risk our children’s lives so recklessly?

Primaries are TODAY. Every vote matters, so please place your vote to support candidates who support you, specifically

-- Dr. Calvin Ball for Howard County Executive


-- Jen Terrasa for Maryland State Delegate District 13,

both of whom continually worked for our health and safety these past four years serving us well on the County Council.

And vote AGAINST Mary Kay Sigaty, running for the District 12 State Senate seat, who has shown a complete lack of regard for our well-being.

Please spread the word and forward this web page to others in your family and personal/professional networks, not only throughout Howard County, but also across the State calling on them to vote against Sigaty during the upcoming primaries TODAY, June 26.

Visit to view the Ethics Stars and vote for these folks. Dan Medigner, Jen Terrasa and Hiruy Hagdu all strongly supported DRPS and what is safe for HoCo for mulch/compost operations.

Clarence Lam is running against Mary Kay Sigaty. Notice, he is an Ethics Star so read more about him at The People's Voice link above provided by Lisa Markovitz and team.

As always, thanks for your support in doing what you can to help our cause.

With gratitude,

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS


John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS

Fellow Supporters,

We promised to follow up with specifics related to the Bonner/Oak Ridge zoning violations that continue to this day, so you can have fully understand why it is not possible to count on DPZ for effective enforcement of any zoning regulations. If they can’t effectively manage one industrial mulch facility owner who is clearly operating in violation of what is allowed, then how can they effectively enforce what will be allowed, all of which pose health and safety risks to your families? In fact, without community involvement in their process, they wouldn’t even be attempting to manage this one businessman operating illegally.

By their own account, DPZ in unable to manage particulars such as pile heights, size and extent of the mulch and compost piles, number and frequency of tractor trailer/3-axle dump trucks in/out of the industrial processing facility (yes, we consider 4 to 10 acres that allows for industrial processing and ability to truck off for commercial sale an industrial operation) and percentage of commercial sales. Even Kittleman’s suggested amendments, publicized on Apr 23, that proposed commercial sale allowance/limits had no plan to regulate the percentage of mulch/compost that would be trucked off for commercial sale. And why? Simply because it can’t be accurately monitored. Period. To note, the ag preserve easements do NOT allow for any industrial or commercial activities as defined by the terms of the ag preserve program. Those in ag preserve have accepted payment from either Howard County or the State of Maryland for agreeing to put their farmland as farms in perpetuity (“Farmland Forever” signs we see on these farms support that reality).

In the case of Bonner/Oak Ridge, citizens needed to provide definitive proof of ongoing violations in order to force DPZ to take enforcement action. All of this just goes to prove that DPZ can’t be trusted to do their job to enforce their own zoning regulations even in the face of clear violations, especially without citizen supervision. Who’s in charge here, anyway? It all goes back to the point made many times that the burden of enforcement should NOT be placed on communities. This is not sustainable or acceptable. Perhaps the burden should be placed on Kittleman to force his people in DPZ to do their jobs. Hold them accountable for a change.

The timeline below details specific events related to the unallowed activities at the Bonner/Oak Ridge facility that occurred in violation to CB20-2014 zoning regulations. Mulch processing and transfer station activities have been ongoing there for ~8 years, despite several complaints filed to DPZ by residents of Woodbine whose health and quality of life have been compromised. Related documents, several of which were submitted during testimony at the April 16 Public Hearing, are also attached.

  1. March 1, 2012:  MALPF, through the MD Department of Agriculture, finds Bonner/Oak Ridge in violation of the deed of easement due to mulch piles from material trucked onto the farm for industrial processing, then trucking out for commercial sale. These types of industrial/commercial activities that result in mulch piles do not support farming operations (material must be from on premises), and are not allowed per the easements issued when accepting the terms and payments related to entering the ag preserve program.
  2. December 13, 2013:  Woodbine resident Rob Long writes letter of complaint to Sigaty (also Fox, Kittleman, DPZ, MALPF, MDE, others) seeking help for what is a mulching facility operating in violation to Howard County zoning regulations. No response is given by Sigaty or Fox. No enforcement action is taken.
  3. June 2, 2014:  County Council passes unanimously into law CB20-2014 that does not allow industrial mulch processing for commercial sale on either Howard County/ALPP or State of Maryland/MALPF ag preserve farmland.
  4. November 25, 2014:  Bonner/Oak Ridge case goes before Howard County Hearing Examiner Michelle LeFavre. Consent Order issued for civil citations for zoning violations calling for shut down of the continued industrial mulch manufacturing operation, and a fine of $1,000 was levied. This is the only fine levied in 8 years of unallowed operation.
  5. January 23 and 27, 2017:  25 residents living in proximity to the Bonner/Oak Ridge facility file a complaint with DPZ. Their letter points out that ongoing transfer station and wood waste recycling activities are in violation to current CB20-2014 zoning regulations.
  6. March 9, 2017: DRPS sends photos to Kittleman, Sigaty, Fox and DPZ that were obtained from Woodbine residents clearly showing industrial truck traffic for multiple tractor trailer/3-axle trucks in/out of Bonner/Oak Ridge each day (~24-30 big rigs each day), as well as drone photos showing unallowable industrial/commercial activities ongoing on this MD ag farm.
  7. March 9, 2017:  DPZ responds to Woodbine residents’ January 23 and 27 letters of complaint. DPZ states that an inspection conducted on February 24, 2017 “failed to reveal any violation of the regulations” at Bonner/Oak Ridge, and that “the case is being closed.”
  8. March 14, 2017:  DRPS sends email again to Kittleman, Sigaty, Fox, and DPZ expressing shock that photos previously submitted to them did not lead to further action against Bonner/Oak Ridge for obvious ongoing zoning violations.
  9. March 15, 2017:  DPZ issues a follow up letter to Woodbine residents stating that the “the letter closing the case was sent prematurely. This case remains open.
  10. April 19, 2017:  DRPS along with the Concerned Citizens Group meet with Kittleman in person to discuss Bonner/Oak Ridge violations with hard proof/photos of unallowable activities there that are causing health concerns for Woodbine residents.
  11. April 20, 2017: DPZ opens a zoning violation case against Bonner/Oak Ridge.
  12. April 21, 2017: DPZ sends a letter to Woodbine residents stating, “In response to your complaints received January 23, January 27 and March 6, 2017…a representative of this Division inspected the property on February 24, 2017. The inspection revealed the following violations of the Howard County Zoning Regulations: Operation of a land clearing debris transfer station and/or sawmill, including the storage of related equipment and materials on RC (Rural Conservation) zoned property.” Wasn’t that the same inspection that found no violations according to their March 9 letter?
  13. December 8, 2017:  Judge issues a cease and desist order to Bonner/Oak Ridge to immediately discontinue the ongoing mulch processing and transfer station activities not allowed on MD ag preserve farmland per CB20-2104 and other Howard County zoning regulations.
  14. Ongoing (May 2018):  Bonner/Oak Ridge continues to perform industrial processing operations on the farm, despite cease and desist order

So now you know the full story and how it takes far too many concerned citizens far too long to supervise DPZ and hold them accountable to do the right thing. The timeline and supporting attachments prove it. It should not take this level of effort to get DPZ to finally take enforcement action over clear violations that pose many health and safety risks for those residing in proximity to these industrial operations.

We hope the tabling of CB21-2018 announced at the May 7 County Council legislative session brings an end to this hotly contested issue on June 4 when the bill sponsors are expected to withdraw the bill. The farmers behind this are not fighting for CB21-2018 to sustain true farming activities, rather industrial mulch and compost facility operators/owners are, exposing children/families to contaminated groundwater and a litany of health risks that are absolutely and unequivocally unacceptable. Thank you for staying vigilant on these matters in the past, present and in the future. As always, we are truly grateful for your continued and proactive support.

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS

Kill the Bill!

CB 21-2018

We Will Remember in November!

Fellow Supporters,

Thank you all for staying the course. As you know, on May 7, the County Council decided to table CB21-2018 instead of killing the bill. June 4 is their opportunity to make this right for you, your children and your families. On that night, CB21-2018 MUST be withdrawn.

Why is this bill alive at all? To put thousands of children and families at risk for the benefit of only 3 industrial mulch manufacturing business owners who want to expand their industrial operations and locate them on the farmland to harvest mulch (maybe it’s really a vegetable) and to create satellite landfills in proximity to your homes. You must be joking. Drive throughout the farmland in rural western Howard County and tell us how many mulch farms you see along the way (make sure you have a full tank of gas, you will be driving for quite a while to find any). And now Sigaty and Fox want to make it worse by adding food waste, animal mortality/parts and manure (Type 2 feedstock) to compost and allow for trucking in of materials for limitless mulch/compost industrial processing with food/animal waste, and trucking out using 3-axle dump trucks and tractor trailers to haul this mess off the farm purely for commercial sale. If I hadn’t spent thousands of hours battling this on many levels over the past 4+ years, I wouldn’t have believed it myself.

How is it possible that elected leadership could arrive at this point in Howard County, one of the most desirable counties to live in across the entire United States? I have answers, but none are good. What we know is that even when CB21-2018 is withdrawn this issue will still be debated, but this time at the state level, and with MDE involvement. We asked for this, plus MALPF, to be on the panel for the Mulch Task Force when Resolution 74-2014 put forth by Sigaty and Fox was voted on by the County Council in June 2014, but not surprisingly it didn’t happen.

DRPS also sent a certified letter to MDE to formally request they take into consideration the wealth of factual scientific data to document that these types of mulch/compost facilities cause evidence-based heavy metals groundwater contamination, posing neurological and development risks to your children and families. We specifically asked that during ongoing discussions with House Bill 171 signed into action by Governor Hogan the panel take into consideration the disturbing findings in the NY State Report that evaluated several mulch facilities to find significantly elevated levels of manganese in groundwater downstream to these industrial/commercial operations that were beyond allowable, safe limits. MDE officially responded in writing to DRPS on May 15 to acknowledge these health and environmental concerns and committed to take the NY State findings into account as they continue to debate the issue. Finally, a glimmer of hope in what has been a long fight given associated health and safety concerns.

We are prepared to continue to fight for your families to ensure the State of Maryland also makes responsible decisions when it comes to industrial/commercial operations for mulch manufacturing and compost with food/animal waste/parts on the farmland. We will also hold the State of Maryland accountable, not only Howard County, to ensure they stay committed to protecting the health and safety of you and your children from the many unacceptable risks these facilities pose to your families. Again, this burden should not be placed on communities to fight for the County or State of Maryland to do the right thing, but we have learned over the past four year battle that it is a likely eventuality.

The next opportunity to kill CB21-2018 will be during the June 4 County Council legislative session. There have been assurances by Howard County leadership, both by the County Executive and the County Council, that this bill will be withdrawn. June 4 will be the night for the full County Council to finally get it right. Several are running for office, and we will be watching to know where we focus our energies next, and very soon. For the good of all, we sincerely hope that the current path set in motion by Kittleman at his May 3 Town Hall meeting for sponsors Sigaty and Fox to withdraw the bill, finally results in the death of CB21-2018 on Monday. If not, we stand poised and prepared to spring immediately into action for the elections now in full swing. Primaries are only a few weeks away. It won’t be pretty. Many thanks for your continued support and for remaining vigilant and vocal to oppose CB21-2018 and any other bills like it.

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS

Current CB 21-2018 bill status - tabled. 

Fellow Supporters,

We are providing this update to make sure you know where things stand at the moment. Bottom line, we are making steady progress. As you are aware from the recent Note sent to thousands of you that have pledged support for DRPS over the past four years, and tens of thousands across Howard County closely following this issue with great concern, at the May 3 Town Hall meeting County Executive Kittleman announced unequivocally that he would ask the Council sponsors of CB21-2018 to “withdraw the bill” or he would “veto it” if it came across his desk. We will hold him to that promise, which represents long overdue assurances to protect your children and families from the serious health and safety risks CB21 poses. We also expect that sponsors Sigaty and Fox will pull the bill to comply with those wishes. It’s flat out the right decision, and the only one we can accept. We will also further ramp up the fight should this outcome not be achieved.

What has happened so far is that on May 7 the County Council held their legislative session and voted to table CB21-2018. We were extremely disappointed that the Council voted to table the bill instead of honoring County Executive Kittleman’s request to withdraw it. Nevertheless, it has set in motion a path forward that inevitably must lead to the sponsors withdrawing CB21-2018. This is especially true given we are entering the heat of the elections (yard signs alone prove it) when so much is at stake for all of these local politicians involved in the fate of CB21.

We urge sponsors Sigaty and Fox to do the right thing soon and withdraw the bill. We also urge the other Council members to make the same request to the CB21 sponsors so that this time the full Council comes to the June 4 legislative session prepared to withdraw the bill. If this does not occur, we will ramp back up our social media campaign to do our part to influence the elections in order to get new leadership in office that takes the responsibility seriously to protect the health and safety of all residents in Howard County.

We also want to thank Dr. Calvin Ball and Jen Terrasa for their unwavering support and solid leadership on the County Council. They have worked with us for over four years now to ensure the right thing is done for your families. To this point, Dr. Ball was instrumental in including that industrial mulching is not allowed on MD ag preserve farmland, a major provision of CB20-2014 that protects your families (up to the day of the vote for CB20-2014 only Howard County ag preserve farmland was included).
For now, we keep the pressure on until we are sure the wicked bill is dead. Much appreciation for your continued support.

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS

Write your HoCo Councilmembers
to ask them to kill this bill once and for all!

Kittleman Makes Promises at HCCA Meeting
to HoCo Residents on Thursday, May 3rd

Fellow Supporters, 

Your commitment and involvement to proactively oppose any zoning legislation in Howard County that would allow for industrial processing of mulch and compost, now with the ability to import food/animal waste, all to truck out in big rigs for commercial sale, has been extremely necessary to arrive at this point. We don’t achieve anything without you. All of your emails to the County Council, County Executive, Governor Hogan, MDE, Attorney General, Baltimore Sun/Howard County Times, the recent involvement of WBAL Channel 11 News media coverage, countless individuals that provided both oral and written testimony, thousands that have shown for community meetings, 24 three hour Mulch Task Force meetings spanning a year, numerous Planning Board and County Council sessions, and the attorneys we have on retainer poised to take this fight to the next level should the unthinkable happen, have made the difference. Your voice has mattered and we expect that to be front stage and center tonight when sponsors Sigaty and Fox should respect the County Executive’s request to kill the bill CB21-2018. And finally again soon, just as in 2014, your vote will matter at the polls, now a month away for primaries and less than six months away for the general election. It has been a very long fight to push back on CB60-2017 and now its evil twin CB21-2018. Hard work pays off, especially when the health and safety of your families is at risk.

We heard at the Kittleman Town Hall meeting on May 3 the County Executive’s statement on the record that he has ”asked that the sponsors of CB21-2018 to pull the bill” since it doesn’t work for the resident farmers or the resident non-farmers. He also stated that “if the bill goes forward he will veto it” when it comes across his desk. We fully expect that commitment to be honored, starting tonight during the May 7 County Council legislative session when CB21-2018 was originally scheduled for vote. We will hold Kittleman to his promise, and sponsors Sigaty and Fox need to make good on Kittleman’s public comments and pull the bill during the May 7 legislative session. CB21-2018 must die tonight. Period. Thousands of voters are closely watching what unfolds, and DRPS will be covering it live.
County Executive Kittleman stated publicly at the May 3 Town Hall meeting two comments that definitely evoked a reaction that I feel compelled to address here. 

The first pertains to what drives enforcement and speaks to the absurdity and seriousness of all that is flawed with Howard County’s dysfunctional DPZ. Kittleman stated that indeed enforcement action is “complaint driven.” I found myself astounded by that comment in light of all that has transpired for many years with just one industrial/commercial operator and just how much the citizens were required to do to push DPZ to take appropriate enforcement action. Those details will be share in the next Note from the DRPS President in a few days (the violations continue at the Bonner/Oak Ridge MD ag preserve mulch farm to this very day). How can they possibly enforce zoning regulations for industrial mulch and compost processing for commercial sale that will be allowed in either 4 or 10-acre increments on any farmland in Howard County, when they can’t even manage one bad actor in 8 years performing completely unallowable operations? 

DPZ Director Lazdins states it is hard to enforce the zoning regulations when trucks are magically disappearing. Well, uh, that is what happens when you give the operator advance notice of an upcoming inspection related to a zoning violation. The deck is stacked against the citizens at every turn, all in the name of DPZ and selective enforcement. Also remember that Lazdins, who was selected by Kittleman, also reports directly to the County Executive. To recall, in the preliminary meeting of our Concerned Citizens core team with Lazdins in Aug 2015, he stated that he is “okay with blueberry fields on one side of the road and mulching facilities on the other.” The actions of DPZ in the case of the Bonner/Oak Ridge violations certainly support it. More ineffective leadership at the expense of your family’s welfare. 

The second relates to Kittleman’s comment during my question posed at the May 3 Town Hall meeting. As part of his response he stated that he had planned to veto CB60-2017. Really now. There is no proof of that claim and rewinding the tape there are certainly no facts to support it. That is probably because it is not true. CB60 did pass, all but for a technicality after the fact. The two resident representatives, Ted Mariani and Rick Lober, met with the County Executive, bill sponsors and DPZ over several meetings, the last of which in Sept gave assurances of truck size limits, etc. which NEVER materialized. Several of the emails to DPZ attempting to follow up on needed amendments to CB60 from these two representing the concerned citizens group went unanswered. The vote passed 3-2 ‘as is’ to allow for total commercial sale of any industrial processed mulch or compost on either ag preserve farmland (4 acres total) or on RC farmland (10 acres along the magic mile north and south of I-70). Even Sigaty at the Planning Board meeting in early 2018 for mulch/compost bill do-over CB21-2018 stated that CB21 “would allow for commercial operations.” DPZ also supported this claim. NO amendments were put forth then by County Executive Kittleman, NOR any communication by email or publicly stated before, during or after the County Council work sessions and legislative vote to suggest otherwise. Howard County leadership needs to walk the talk if citizens are to believe in them. We need to vote for change. We need better leadership on the County Council and in the County Executive’s seat. That time is now.

I close with the comment I opened with when addressing Kittleman at his Town Hall meeting on May 3, about this four year long ordeal that “doing the right thing for the right reasons has no time limits, no matter how exhausting.” That certainly applies here for the investment we are making to protect you and your families. If sponsors Sigaty and Fox pull back the bill tonight, we may thankfully never know which child is spared the kind of tragedy that occurred in rural VA in March 2017 when two children were struck and killed by a tractor trailer carrying 75,000 lbs of mulch that “could not stop in time due to the heavy load.” Please stay active to oppose CB21-2018 until such time as it no longer has a pulse. We greatly appreciate your continued support.

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS
Email from Councilman Calvin Ball to his HoCo Constituents last week:

Good evening,

As you know, in 2017, Council Bill 60 – 2017 (CB60), sponsored by County Executive Allan Kittleman to allow certain composting facilities and emergency natural wood waste recycling facilities was invalidated. On April 2, Councilmembers Sigaty and Fox sponsored Council Bill 21 – 2018 (CB21), the exact same bill that was invalidated.

On Monday, April 23rd, the Council received draft amendments from County Executive Kittleman a few hours before holding our Council Work Session on the bill. I appreciate Mr. Kittleman sharing his thoughts and those draft amendments so we can have a transparent community conversation about them.

After much discussion at the work session and not fully hearing how the draft amendments address health and safety concerns and support farming and agriculture, I sent a follow-up email to County Executive Kittleman on Wednesday, April 25th, asking him questions with my concerns. To date, I have not received a response. Additionally, there were no amendments filed today on CB 21. I voted against CB60 last year and am still not comfortable with the refiled bill.

I feel it is best that CB21, as written, should be voted down, or at least tabled to give us all more time to address lingering concerns. While I do not support the bill as drafted, my hope is that we can all work with our community. Please continue sharing your thoughts with me as we work to find a solution.
All the best,

Dr. Calvin Ball
Howard County Council, District 2
Ph: 410-313-2001

"A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others." —Douglas MacArthur
Fellow Supporters,

You saw that we wrote to Governor Hogan. Now, we have written MDE asking them to weigh in, given the very real and well documented evidence to substantiate the heavy metals groundwater contamination (manganese) that is associated with small and large mulching facilities when located on rural farmland that relies on wells for their drinking water supply.

We asked through testimony provided to the Council when Resolution 74-2014 was presented for vote, that MDE be included as part of the Mulch Task Force, but they were not. Whether this is a result of the sponsors neglecting to include them, or MDEs decision not to participate, either is unacceptable, especially given the County is placing a lot of the burden and path forward on MDE regulations. Given that we’ve recently learned about MD House Bill 171 that is debating these same issues on the state level, and MDEs involvement with it, it is even more timely that they weigh in at the County level regarding our health and safety concerns. Based on the fact that we have yet to get official word from MDE on our issues of concern, we respectfully request the Council consider tabling the vote for until such time as an official response from MDE is received. Simply put, MDE needs to formally show us the evidence that supports why they believe these health risks do not endanger your families given the wealth of published data that associates heavy metals contamination with serious neurotoxicity and growth abnormalities for your children. 

Until we are afforded the protections allowed to us under CB20-2014, we cannot stop. And if CB21-2018 passes without the assurances that protect the welfare of your families, we are prepared to file suit against Howard County and County Executive Kittleman.

Please read the letter sent to MDE on behalf of your families, copied below. Hope to see you tonight, 7:30pm at the Bain Center (5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia, MD 21044) at the Kittleman Town Hall Meeting where we plan to ask questions him about CB21-2018. Many thanks. 

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS


May 2, 2018 

Benjamin H. Grumbles 
Secretary of the Environment 
Department of the Environment 
Montgomery Park Business Center, 

Re: Natural Wood Waste Recycling Concern and New York State Organic Waste Sites Investigation 

Dear Secretary Grumbles, 

In 2014, the Howard County local government organized a task force of residents to look into issues associated with mulch manufacturing. One environmental issue identified relates to ground water contamination, specifically for radionuclides and manganese. This information was obtained from a 2013 joint investigation report between the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) and Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS). Subsequently, the Task Force wrote to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and requested answers to some questions. One comment that was received from the MDE was that they were aware of a credible study by the State of New York that found elevated levels of manganese at multiple vegetative organic waste sites, but they were still in the process of reviewing that information. 

A second follow up study was performed in 2016 by the SCDHS that unequivocally identified groundwater manganese contamination at all vegetative organic waste sites located in Suffolk County. Of the eleven facilities that were tested, some facilities only performed mulch manufacturing, although it is noted that vegetative organic material in general causes the problem. This report can be found online at: 

The 2016 investigation report was also provided to the MDE and no response has yet been received for either report. I am requesting that the MDE provide a direct response and opinion to the review of both of these reports as the Howard County Government believes that no environmental issues relate to these organic waste/organic recycling facilities. It is understandable that the MDE may not be able to immediately solve the problem or have an exact answer as to why the contamination is occurring, but the MDE should acknowledge organic waste sites can be an issue and that there is clear evidence supporting the cause and effect relationship. By ignoring this, the MDE may be unintentionally providing reassurance to the Counties that these organic waste operations do not cause groundwater contamination and residents relying on groundwater for drinking water near these facilities may be harmed. 

John Tegeris, PhD
President, Dayton Rural Preservation Society

Alan Kittleman, Howard County Executive 
Mary Kay Sigaty, Howard County Council Chair 
Dr. Calvin Ball, Howard County Council 
Jen Teressa, Howard County Council 
John Weinstein, Howard County Council
Greg Fox, Howard County Council
Senator Robert L. Flanagan 
State Delegate Warren E. Miller 
State Delegate Trent Kittleman
Fellow Supporters,

Over four years ago we fought back Comp Zoning language with passage of CB20-2014 that attempted to wire the word mulch into the definition of farming, all for industrial operators to exploit the ag preserve program and locate their industrial facilities in the rural communities. We have been losing ground steadily ever since, given what the collective of Kittleman, Sigaty, Fox and DPZ/Lazdins attempted to accomplish with passage of CB60-2017 had it not been for a lucky technicality.

So now after four exhaustive years fighting the same battles against the same poor leadership, we take the fight to the next level. We have formally written to Governor Hogan to explain our plight in detail and to request a meeting along with our medical experts and others who play a key role in the fight to oppose industrial mulch/compost for commercial sale on farmland in Howard County. Like we have been saying repeatedly this entire time, if mulch and compost is needed for farming, then it is on/by/for the farm, in support of legitimate farming, or else kill the bill. We will keep everyone posted as to what develops.

What is even more concerning and requires that we take our health and safety concerns to Governor Hogan, is that the State of Maryland is now working on Maryland House Bill 171 which is considering initiatives that will allow food waste to be trucked onto farms, all under a Go Green initiative (more like Go Gangrene with the elevated microbial activity and disease burden it will bring to your soil and groundwater). Even more disconcerting is the fact that at least one key industrial mulch operator that served on the Mulch Task Force as the co-Chair for the farmers is also on the state task force to evaluate the feasibility of this madness to make our farmland tantamount to satellite landfills. Have any of those representing the rural communities on the Mulch Task Force been invited to serve on the panel? I think not. What a surprise.

We will know soon where Governor Hogan stands on the issue. We hope the ability to meet with him soon and present our facts/evidence/documentation will be a wake-up call to do more in Howard County to stop this. If he is willing to intervene on short notice to stop the vote for CB21-2018 until a full investigation is performed by the state, even better. We can’t give up hope, after all. That is what our opponents who support CB21-2018 are counting on as they attempt to wear down our community, but we will not give in to them. The elections are finally here. Our voice and vote matter now more than ever.

The fight continues. Many thanks for your continued support. Your next chance to show that support is to show up in numbers at the HCCA Annual Meeting on Thurs May 3. Their business will run from 6-7:30pm, at which time the Kittleman Town Hall meeting begins. We look forward to asking our County Executive tough questions on CB21-2018 and all that has transpired since 2014. He has put in weak amendments, which we are not sure will ultimately be pre-filed on May 3 anyway. He can turn his back and avoid confronting us, but not Thurs night.

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS

No means no! Kill the Bill CB21!
Weak Leadership = Weak Amendments. I don’t know what box Kittleman thinks he’s checking, but it’s the wrong one. After 2,000+ hours fighting this mess for the past 4+ years, all in the interest of protecting the health and safety of our children and families, I’ve had it with sponsors Sigaty/Fox and Kittleman. We MUST kill this bill.

It’s on/by/for the farm or nothing at all. Kittleman’s amendments leave loopholes for commercial sale and have NO truck size restrictions on ag preserve farmland. You can still truck in nasty Type 2 feedstock (food waste, animal parts, manure) and truck out product for commercial sale. They say 5%, but how can they enforce this when DPZ can’t even stop one bad actor from doing industrial processing with CB20-2014 still in effect that does NOT allow for it. Bonner/Oak Ridge was running the industrial tub grinder even today. These so called improvements in the amendments allow for 1 acre of mulch and 3 acres of compost if your piles are 5’ high. DPZ has stated at a previous work session that they cannot enforce pile height. So who will? Maybe Sigaty/Fox and Kittleman will during their spare time.
And what about this “magic mile” north and south of I-70 throughout the County that under proposed CB21-2018 has NO restrictions on what can be trucked in for industrial processing and what can be trucked out for commercial sale. There are NO limits on the size of trucks that can transport material in and product out. This means that tractor trailers and 3-axle dump trucks will be on rural roads headed God knows where. They make it sound okay to do industrial if a processing facility “abuts” I-70. It doesn’t directly access I-70, but must use rural roads to get there. Thousands of homes, a dozen or more schools are now in this path. An equation for disaster? You bet. Poor leadership by Councilmembers Sigaty and Fox and County Executive Kittleman? You bet.
If you oppose CB21-2018 and want to be part of our unified voice to show in force against CB21-2018, then please make time to attend the HCCA Annual Meeting starting at 6:15 pm that will be immediately followed by a Town Hall meeting with Kittleman starting at 7:30 pm. It will be held at The Bain Center (5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia, MD 21044) on Thurs May 3.

We will ask him tough questions and want a large crowd there to see how he responds, and to hold him accountable all the way up to the elections in November. We will have a ‘No InDUSTry!’ pin for each of you so Kittleman knows who in the crowd is holding him accountable if CB21 passes with his weak amendments.
Many Kittleman supporters, especially me, have switched to Camp Calvin Ball for County Executive. If you saw the Apr 23 work session, and the tough questions Dr. Ball just asked Kittleman publicly about CB21-2018, you will see what good leadership is all about, which is leading in a way that protects all the citizens of Howard County, not just a few industrial operators. Kittleman will hide behind the belief that all that he promised during his campaign for County Executive was to keep industrial processing off ag preserve farmland. If you follow the trail, the bill Kittleman sponsored last fall, CB60-2017, allowed for industrial processing of mulch/compost on ag preserve and NO limits on commercial sale and NO truck size limits. We lost that vote and would be living under his lie had it not been for a technicality to result in this do over with CB21-2018. If we weren’t in the heat of election season during this redo, you can bet there wouldn’t even be weak amendments. Please make the time on Thursday May 3rd to show up and let Kittleman know your vote in November for the general election matters. We will be at this through the elections and beyond. We simply can’t give up until we win and protect our community from serious health and safety risks if CB 21 passes even with his amendments. Many thanks for your continued support.
John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS

Fellow Supporters,

We had a very productive work session on April 23 for CB21-2018, thanks to the leadership of Council Members Dr. Calvin Ball and Ms. Jen Terrasa. Thanks also goes to Council Member Weinstein for clearly displaying a willingness to study the testimony presented and an attitude that these concerns are noteworthy, leading us to believe that he will also push for necessary amendments. We will summarize and send details in the next Note. The work session also included discussion around amendments proposed by County Executive Kittleman. Bottom line, the amendments don't go far enough. They are unacceptable as is, so we will stay aggressive.  

As many of you know, Rick Lober was selected as the representative for the County Executive's Office on the Mulch Task Force, and is also one of the leads for the Concerned Citizens Groups opposing first CB60-2017, and now CB21-2018. In a previous Note I promised to send out his written testimony (attached), which was not able to be read aloud at the April 16 hearing. Rick has done a fabulous job helping to lead the effort in opposing industrial mulch/compost on farmland for commercial sale. We believe it is excellent testimony as to why CB21-2018 should not be allowed to pass as is. 

We must remain active and unified to oppose CB21-2018 and push for amendments that make this mulch/compost bill safe from health and safety risks for you, your children and your families. Otherwise, we must kill the bill.

Thanks to many supporting the cause who continue to work hard to prevent the unthinkable. Let's keep up the good fight; we are making progress together.

You can't vote on CB21-2018, but your vote will matter in June and November. Many thanks.

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS

Testimony of Richard M. Lober on CB-21-2018

My name is Rick Lober and I have been involved in the discussions on mulch and composting for the last 4 years having served on the residents/farming work group for over 20 sessions and on a smaller working group organized by DPZ and the County Executive.


I do appreciate the time spent by Greg Fox, Mary Kay Sigaty, Allan Kittleman, and members of DPZ over the last few years in dealing with this important issue.  I also am grateful for what I have learned from our hard working farming community within Howard County.


However, the end result of the many hours spent on the issue is the current CB-21 which negates almost all input by Howard County residents groups and has little to do with farming.  The bill is filled with special considerations for a small group of so-called “farmers” who have been operating land clearing and mulch manufacturing facilities for years on County and State agricultural preservation lands – often with no permit, conditional use hearing, or compliance with zoning laws in existence now or at the time operations began.  All of this is being presented under the guise of “helping the farming community” or keeping Howard County “Green” while the end result is a gross violation of our County and State Agricultural Preservation Programs.


These programs allow the County or State to buy the development rights of farms in our community in order to preserve the farm for agricultural uses only - in perpetuity.  Two such bills passed last year in which the County purchased development rights for a total of 112 acres at a cost of $3.25 million dollars.


I fully support this program as it provides great benefit to our farming community and the residents of Howard County.  However, I want to highlight certain portions of these bills that restrict development rights and express my concern over the County’s efforts to continue to water down these provisions through zoning law amendments.


Per the bills language, “ Development Rights” means the rights of the seller in the land to develop the Land for ANY purpose other than Agricultural Uses.  “Development Rights” shall include, but not be limited to, the right to use the Land for INDUSTRIAL OR COMMERCIAL USES, for residential purposes, or the storage or depositing of trash, junk, rubbish or debris.  These are the rights the County is buying and the farm owner is forfeiting to preserve our farmlands.


The bills also state that Agricultural Uses includes what most of us would consider farming activities (growing crops, breeding animals, and the sale of agricultural products produced on the land) along with other uses DIRECTLY RELATED TO or as an accessory use of the Land for FARMING AND AGRICULTURAL PURPOSES.


This all seems pretty clear cut – farming only, no homes AND no industrial OR COMMERCIAL uses for perpetuity; however, upon reading the Howard County Zoning Regulations, section 106 on Conditional uses allowed on ag preserve properties, the following is allowed on farms in the ag preservation program:  Barber Shops, Hair Salons, Cell Towers, Animal Shelters, Commercial School Bus operations, Solar Facilities and if CB21 passes next month, commercial compost and mulching (NWWR) businesses.  It is hard to imagine how these relate to an accessory use of a farm for FARMING AND AGRIULCTURAL PURPOSES.


My understanding and discussion with many of the farmers who have become part of this program is that they are proud that they themselves, their parents or even grandparents made this commitment to maintain the farm as an agricultural activity for perpetuity.  However, the uses listed above are not farming activities or are any way related to an accessory agricultural use of the farm.


This continuing watering down of the zoning regulations has allowed commercial business owners to purchase these farms at a very low cost (given development rights have been forfeited), place commercial operations such as those noted above on these farms, and reap the tax benefits ($0 Property taxes) associated with the ag preserve program instead of paying what would be much higher taxes for facilities that should be placed on M1/M2 lands.


In looking at the specifics of CB-21, DPZ has given the false impression that commercial uses of ag preserve lands will not be allowed.  For mulch, only a nursery may operate at one acre.   For compost, the limit is set at 3 acres for any type of farm.  However, while “retail sales” are limited to 5% of end product there is no stipulation on “commercial sales” or large 18 wheel trucks entering or leaving the facility.  In addition, the bill defines ag preserve lands as only those that are continuing to receive payments from the County – not those that have been fully paid.  This is a major loophole typical of what we have seen lawyers for special interests groups lobby to have inserted into language at the 12th hour.


In the spring of 2017, a residential group representative and I sat in meetings late in the Bill’s process with County Council members and the County Executive.  At that time, assurances were made that the bill would limit “commercial sales” to 5% for both mulch and compost and restrict truck size on agricultural preservation lands.   This clearly would have stopped commercial operators from using lands in agricultural preserve for industrial mulch and compost operations thus allowing only farmers to produce what they need for the farm itself.  However, all of that language has been eliminated, watered down or made subject to major loopholes in the current CB-21 thus opening the door to commercial operations.


Finally, it has been disappointing to see promises made by the winning candidates for County Council and County Exec in the 2014 election be broken by their sponsorship and initial endorsement of this Bill.  I have also witnessed professionals in the areas of health, fire and the environment be ignored, humiliated and in some cases threatened with the loss of their job while trying to inform DPZ and the Council on the health and safety issues of the current bill before us.  This is local politics at its worst.


Given the extensive time spent by County residents, farmers, Council Members, DPZ and the County exec, CB-21 should be tabled until loopholes are removed, agricultural preservation laws are maintained and the health and safety of our residents fully considered.

Fellow Supporters,

Providing here a recap of what transpired at the County Council Public Hearing on Apr 16, related events and what lies ahead. We collectively gave consistent and unified testimony on basically the same issues for health and safety concerns should CB21-2018 pass ‘as is’. That was encouraging. We can’t all be crazy.

To note, we did request a meeting by phone and email with Jon Weinstein last week but his assistant emailed to say Mr. Weinstein declined. He apparently knows all he needs to know at this point. Weinstein clearly is the swing vote and appears poised for a repeat performance. In a word, disappointing.  

Rick Lober, officially the County Executive’s representative on the Mulch Task Force, submitted excellent written testimony against CB21-2018 but, unfortunately, it could not be heard aloud at the Apr 16 public hearing where many provided powerful and compelling testimony (thank you). We predicted this and will circulate his testimony opposing CB21 soon to everyone here and also to mass email to those in our DRPS database, plus post on our homepage (

It is clear from CB21-2018 sponsors Sigaty and Fox, and Allan Kittleman who supported CB60-2017, they all want farmers to have the ability to do industrial processing of mulch/compost for commercial sale. Sigaty can claim this is not industrial, but it is clearly a commercial operation. Whatever she chooses to call it, it is clear any farm anywhere in Howard County can do 4 acres of this mess, especially on easier to acquire ag preserve farmland, plus truck in food and animal waste to add to the compost, all to export in tractor trailer trucks for commercial sale. CB21-2018 sponsors Sigaty and Fox, and Kittleman, carefully read your bill and see that what is stated here is a fact. It is allowed, either in clear terms and also by what is clearly not addressed in CB21 to create loopholes, primarily to the benefit of industrial mulch/compost operators.

Even worse if you are on a farm one mile north and south of I-70 cutting across the entire county. Those farmers, or commercial mulch/compost operators, can do up to 10 acres of mulch/compost. And it isn’t like they can enter the highway straight from the farm. Once again, tractor trailer trucks on rural roads and passing elementary schools are in play to get to I-70 from this “magic mile.” I suppose Sigaty, Fox and Kittleman don’t think that is industrial either. They get credit for creating an “equation for disaster” for you, your children and your families. And all of this to create language and find a crafty way to allow one member of the Mulch Task Force who could not be grandfathered in by the County to continue and expand his industrial/commercial mulch operation. So, sponsors Sigaty and Fox create this allowance for one person at the expense of thousands now at potentially greater risk given the limit along the magic mile is now 10 total acres in total, 5 acres of mulch and 5 acres of compost with food and animal waste. Please email to thank them, especially if you live in Lisbon or Woodbine right along the magic mile. Ridiculous.

It seemed clear to me on Apr 16 that the farmers are unified too. They want the ability to do industrial processing for commercial sale as another way to generate revenue since farming has legitimately become harder and harder to run profitably. We support the farmers and their viability, and are truly sorry it has come to this, but CB21-2018 is neither the answer nor an option as it is written. It will only be acceptable if language is added to make these activities on/by/for the farm and without the ability to truck in dangerous Type 2 feedstock (food waste, animal mortality, manure) for processing. This is the only way we prevent limitless trucking in/out and industrial processing ultimately for commercial sale on ag preserve farmland.

And where is our Howard County leader, Allan Kittleman, in all of this? Broken campaign promises, empty assurances to add language to CB60 at the smaller meeting in Sept 2017 to better protect your families, his fingerprint approving CB60 that passed but invalidated on a technicality, a bill with his name on it and presented on his behalf, and now attempting to distance himself from CB21 with elections drawing near. In a word, cowardice. Email him to convey thanks for sponsor Sigaty and Fox to introduce legislation that will allow the farmland to be satellite garbage dumps and allow for dangerous landfills all over Howard County. You say it won't happen? Read the bill and understand. Full of loopholes and omissions to make it possible. This is your County, still your bill in our eyes, and you need to fix this mess. 

We are only beginning. What lies ahead are strategies for the elections, Governor Hogan, and more. Please continue to spread the word and stay active in opposing CB21-2018 through letters, emails, Facebook posts, especially to support candidates that also oppose CB21 and to criticize candidates who support reckless mulch and compost bill CB21, and in any other way possible. Everyone’s voice counts, especially given what we are up against with such a stacked deck. 

Many thanks for the continued support. We need it now more than ever. It has been a long four year fight, but we must remain committed to finishing strong and get new leadership elected into office. With much appreciation,

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS
Fellow Supporters

How many ways are there to convey the same message? Only the numbers are changing…CB20, CB60, CB21…by this pattern the next one must be CB61. Will there be another one if we lose the vote again? You bet. And we will work our tails off to help the right candidates who support us get elected and do the converse for those that have a hand in passage of CB21-2018, aka Kittleman, Sigaty and Weinstein (DRPS candidate endorsements coming soon). We simply can’t stop until your children and families are safe. If we can’t count on our County Executive, or CB21-2018 bill sponsors Sigaty and Fox to protect us, then we have to work to protect ourselves. Kittleman made campaign promises. Broken. Fox sponsored acceptable and current CB20-2014 that most impacts his own District 5. Betrayal. Sigaty voted for CB20-2014 then seemingly pushes for ways to help farmers, but finally admits new CB21-2018 allows for commercial operations. Deceitful.

This ag preserve parcel in Dayton looks like a good place to grow mulch and compost with food waste, and not to grow corn.

Let’s take a big-picture look at how we got to this point, starting at the beginning:
·      In 2013, a businessman and his lawyer started the ball rolling on Comprehensive Zoning changes that would allow mulch processing to be considered farming. For them this was necessary because ag preserve farmland is cheap to buy, but doesn’t allow for industrial or commercial activity, which is what they had planned. 
·      In 2014, that same businessman files a pre-submission plan to construct a 16-acre industrial mulch manufacturing plant on his newly purchased ag preserve farmland in the heart of Dayton, exploiting the ag preserve program since changes in Comp Zoning paved the way for it.
·      As a community, we work to get CB20-2014 passed that prohibits mulch manufacturing operations on all ag preserve farmland in Howard County.
·      Sigaty and Fox immediately put forth Resolution 74-2014 to call for a Mulch Task Force to study the issue. They name members to the Task Force who support industrial mulch, with token members to represent the residents. Sigaty elects Richard Goldman to be the Chair for the residents group. Goldman proceeds to vote with the pro-mulch manufacturer contingent, and residents lose almost every vote taken during Mulch Task Force meetings 15-4. Goldman was subsequently honored by the Farm Bureau for “outstanding service on the Mulch Task Force.” 
·      CB60-2017 is crafted based on recommendations from the Mulch Task Force majority report, and now allows for Type 2 feedstock (food waste, animal mortality, manure) to be trucked in/industrial processed/trucked out for commercial sale. Oddly enough, Type 2 feedstock was never discussed during the Task Force meetings, and likely a Sigaty addition for unknown personal agenda-driven reasons. Recommendations put forth in the residents’ minority report were ignored. 
·      Around time CB60-2017 was introduced, said Dayton businessman begins an estimated 1,000 3-axle dump trucks in and out of his Dayton farm over a 6-8 week period. We are told he is conducting a soil conservation study, with no ulterior or forward-looking motive. 
·      On Nov 6, 2017 CB60-2017 passed, but was then determined invalid since the Council vote exceeded the statutory 125-day limit to vote on a bill.
·      In 2018, hundreds more 3-axle dump trucks move in/out of businessman’s Dayton ag preserve farm, this time resulting in some type of cementicious all weather pad being installed, seemingly in the same location that the original pre-submission plan shows planned construction of a mulch manufacturing plant. Interesting side note, a pre-sediment plan and an all-weather pad are requirements for building a mulch manufacturing plant.
·      Looking to the future, sound business planning would suggest a partnership between neighboring “farms” to stack acreage devoted to industrial processing and commercial sale of mulch and compost containing food waste (think slaughterhouses, landfills and garbage dumps since CB21 will allow for Type 2 feedstock), thereby allowing a mulch/compost manufacturing plant of increased size to be operated within the allowed rules. 
·      We could then see an 8 acre industrial mulch and compost facility per CB21-2018 and the ability to do 1 acre of mulch and 3 acres of food waste riddled compost on each ag preserve parcel, with no restriction on truck size and no limit to what is trucked on/off for commercial sale. Isn’t the County landfill Alpha Ridge just 6 acres in size? Guess that must be considered farming, too.

Bottom line is that CB21-2018 is a shameful product of poor leadership and lies that benefit industrial business owners, not farmers. Farmers live on the land that they farm. NWWR operators don’t live on the land that houses their operations, with good reason. NWWR is not farming.
Show up Mon Apr 16 and testify so your voices of opposition to CB21-2018 will be heard. We need each and every one of you to attend. Many thanks.

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS
Fellow Supporters

​Here is another reminder of the real potential consequences the come with turning our rural roads into industrial through ways if County Executive Kittleman and Council Members Sigaty and Fox succeed in getting CB21-2018 passed into legislation.

We have been warning all of them ​of this risk for the past four years​,​ but none taken these concerns for your children seriously. They have not been addressed in any way throughout the past four year ordeal that has arrived at this horrible bill, just as they have been dismissive of our other health risk concerns. Simply put, this is reckless and irresponsible leadership in Howard County. Can you imagine witnessing, as these parents did in Central VA a year ago, a tractor trailer truck running down your children as they crossed the street to board their school bus with yellow flashing lights, and in an instant your child is gone from your life forever​? From the Washington Post article below, here is the real basis for the concern and one of the major reasons we are fighting for your families to kill the bill CB21-2018:

"The driver of the tractor-trailer braked, but the vehicle, loaded with 75,000 pounds of mulch and traveling downhill, hit the children before it could stop."

The truck driver was not found to be at fault, even though the children were crossing the road to a school bus with yellow lights, but not yet red. The reality of the situation is that there was no egregious error, and yet two children were still killed in front of their mothers and other children because a tractor trailer was carrying such a heavy load of mulch that it simply could not stop in time. 

Why Kittleman, Sigaty and Fox don't think this could happen to your children is beyond me. Please email each of them to justify their positions and ask what facts they have, or what assurances they can make, that their actions will not result in any risk to the lives of your children. Their email addresses are listed below. If you agree, please email to voice your concerns, and also sign up to testify on Apr 16. Let's let the Council know that this is not acceptable to your family.
Sign up online to testify by going to:

and clicking on the Testify icon on the upper right side of the screen (looks like a hand). 

I pray that we can stop the madness before we are mourning a child fatality with a headline reading...
Tragedy in Western Howard County

​Hope to count on your support as we fight for the health and safety of your children, and to see ​
you on Monday, April 16th - the Public Howard County Council Meeting.

​County Executive and County Council emails:

Remember to sign up to testify against CB21-2018. Many thanks. 

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS

Tractor-trailer strikes, kills two children as they run across road to school bus

Two children were struck and killed by a tractor-trailer Thursday morning when they ran across a road to board a school bus near the town of Dillwyn in central Virginia, officials said.

At about 7:40 a.m., officers responded to a report of a fatal crash in Buckingham County just north of Dillwyn, which is about 65 miles west of Richmond, the Virginia State Police said in a statement.

A tractor-trailer was traveling north on Route 15 when a Buckingham County school bus, with its yellow flashing lights activated, approached from the opposite direction to pick up a group of children, the statement said. As the bus slowed, two children ran across the road toward it. The driver of the tractor-trailer braked, but the vehicle, loaded with 75,000 pounds of mulch and traveling downhill, hit the children before it could stop.

The children, identified as Tori Perez, 5, and Jaiden Bartee, 6, died at the scene.

The tractor-trailer driver, a 66-year-old man from Dillwyn, has a valid commercial driver’s license, according to police, and the tractor-trailer was in compliance with commercial vehicle regulations.

No charges will be filed, police said.

Fellow Supporters,

Here is the first in a series of Notes from the President leading up to the Apr 16 County Council Public Hearing. At that hearing, we MUST have a strong turnout with many citizens testifying in opposition to CB21-2018. It is mind-boggling that County Executive Kittleman and Council members Sigaty and Fox, who were all elected into office to promote responsible, safe and high quality growth of one of the most desirable counties to live in in the country, could push forward such reckless mulch/composting zoning regulations.

The proposed CB21-2018 puts Howard County in a much worse position than CB20-2014, which is currently in effect. Simply put, CB21-2018 will allow for any farm in Howard County, including all ag preserve farmland, to become a satellite commercial landfill of either 3 to 5 acres, with the ability to truck in food waste, animal mortality and manure (Type 2 feedstock) for composting, as well as to truck out product for commercial sale (their new definition of legitimate farming). Also allowed is 1 to 5 acres of industrial mulch processing for commercial sale, making the situation even more dangerous for your families.

Now picture two farms that share boundaries and industrial/commercial interests, for example in Dayton, and we could see mulch/compost facilities 8-20 acres in size across two farms (I refer to this as stacking). When this happens, it will undoubtedly be labeled as “unintended consequences” that we will then need to spend time, energy and money to “fix.” Isn’t it time to learn from the mistakes of the past and anticipate consequences BEFORE they become a hazard that puts families and children throughout western Howard County at serious risk?

To all Council Members supporting this bill, and to County Executive Kittleman who supported this bill at its inception and is now trying to distance himself from it: We will remember your actions throughout the upcoming election process, from start to finish.

Below is an excellent and accurate look at the facts written by David Banwarth and submitted as testimony opposing CB21-2018. Mr. Banwarth is a fire expert professional who has opposed industrial mulch/composting facilities from operating on the farmland since this problem arose in 2014. Please read and remember why we must remain active in opposing CB21-2018. Please forward this email to all others in your personal and professional networks within Howard County to spread the word. Many thanks.


John Tegeris, PhD

President DRPS

Testimony by David Banwarth all Dayton and HoCo residents should read!

All Councilpersons, please consider this as my formal testimony concerning CB 21-2018.

I studied the composting allowances in CB 21-2018, and the companion MDE regulations, particularly as they would apply to ALPP.  They are extremely threatening to our quality of life in Dayton and any similar areas. Of course, the composting threats are in addition to the well documented and dangerous industrial mulch grinding provisions of CB 21 to which I and many health professionals and subject matter experts have previously testified. 

Some particularly alarming composting aspects:

· Up to 3 acres of Type 1 or Type 2 "Small" composting facilities are permitted.

·Type 2 composting materials include rotting animal carcasses, "industrial" food processing materials, food scraps waste, manure and bedding, and any other "compostable products".  They can be piled up to 9 feet high per MDE regulations.

·The amount of sales is unlimited, for a farm with no currently ongoing ALPP payments, like the Dayton Orndorff farm which adjoins existing rural subdivisions.

What is proposed by sponsoring Councilpersons Fox and Sigaty is the allowance of 3 acres of rotting animal carcasses, food waste, and trash into the middle of our residential community (and similar ones throughout Western Howard County).  Toxic pathogens, aquifer and groundwater contamination, rodent infestations, stench, and constant trucking of unlimited waste is proposed in this CB.  Even the MDE regulations, describe food waste as "Industrial" waste.  It cannot be any clearer that this does not belong outside of M1/M2 zoned land.

I cannot imagine how any Councilpersons could possibly sponsor such reckless, irresponsible, and dangerous legislation.  It is bad enough that Councilpersons Fox and Sigaty, along with Councilperson Weinstein, voted against County residents health and safety to allow industrial mulch manufacturing in the midst of our rural communities during the last legislative cycle.  Now, they apparently want to take it even a step further in their ongoing war against residents health and safety.

In contrast, I appreciate Councilpersons Ball and Terrasa's thoughtful regard for citizen's safety in the past and wish other Councilpersons can do the same regarding the threats to public safety contained in CB 21-2018.  I also appreciate County Executive Kittleman removing himself as requesting the legislation during this legislative cycle and propose that he veto CB 21-2018 if it reaches his desk to rectify his original request for this dangerous legislation.

Please do the following regarding CB 21-2018:

1. Eliminate Tier 2 composting provisions proposed for any proposed zoning category other than M1/M2.  They do not belong outside M1/M2 due to the hazardous and noxious nature.

2. Tier 1 composting on other than M1/M2 should be limited to "from the farm - for the farm", with no trucking of materials onto or off of the site, except occasional transport to other farms for "on the farm" use there, with no commercial sales beyond that point.

3. Eliminate proposed mulch manufacturing from other than M1/M2 zones (as is current law).  The many hazards associated with this industrial practice are well documented and by their very nature need to be limited to M1/M2 zones.  Even a 1 acre mulch manufacturing operation is dangerous to communities health and safety, can damage the aquifer, contaminates air quality, poses severe fire risk, causes noise and odors, and reduces the quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods.  It belongs only on M1/M2, as per the current law.

4. Honor the easements and covenants established on Ag Pres contracts and limit all operations there to agricultural uses and currently approved accessory uses (as per the easement requirements and the current regulations - i.e. wineries, hair salons, and other currently allowed accessory uses). Mulch manufacturing is not agriculture by MDE definition and is hazardous.  No uses currently within M1/M2 should not be moved onto Ag Pres lands according to the easement contracts established with our Ag Pres payments, which run with the land recordations and apply in perpetuity.  Doing otherwise would violate those pre-recorded easement restriction contracts, violate the public trust, and may well subject the County to liabilities and damages.

Rest assured all Councilpersons and County Executive Kittleman that your vote/actions will be remembered beyond this Bill into upcoming elections, both local and Statewide, going forward.

Thank you, please do the right thing to protect residents,

David Banwarth

Dayton, MD

ATTACHMENT:  PDF from David Banwarth

Fellow Supporters,


It is time once again to mobilize quickly. As you know, horrible bill CB60 passed Nov 6 but was nullified due to the County Council unknowingly going beyond the statutory requirement of 125 days to vote on the bill (expired Nov 5), which set a repeat process in motion early in 2018. The Planning Board recently voted unanimously to go forward ‘as is’ with ZRA-183 filed again by bill sponsors Sigaty and Fox, which is essentially CB60 but with a few notable changes.

One key omission is that County Executive Kittleman, whose name was on the previous ZRA/bill and presented to the County Council through DPZ on his behalf, decided to remove his name from the current one. Interesting timing given that elections loom large and he is now fully aware that thousands oppose this bill and that we will all vote again soon. Could he be growing concerned that broken campaign promises on our mulch issue will come back to haunt him during the elections? You bet, and we intend to remind him of this fact all the way up to the polls when we vote in November should this new mulch bill CB21-2018 pass ‘as is’.


Allan Kittleman has turned his back on you. He has put the welfare and quality of life at risk for potentially thousands of families, and voters, across Howard County due to the well-documented health and safety risks associated with industrial mulching and composting. Simply put, the current County Executive can run (literally) but he can’t hide. We will not let him quietly slip away from owning this bill, one that puts thousands of children/families at risk. This is cowardice, with a capitol ‘K’.


We just signed on the Law Offices of Katherine Taylor with a sizeable retainer financed through recent donations. We stand ready to take immediate legal action should CB21-2018 pass in its current form. If this occurs, we will file suit against Howard County and County Executive Kittleman.


In the coming days and weeks, we will be calling on our support base raise more funds for the legal battle that likely lies ahead, in representing each of your families in this fight. We fought back in 2014 when the collective community effort rising up together won the good fight with passage of current mulch bill CB20-2014. These funds will also be used for the elections, to bring light and name recognition to those running for office that have supported us, such as Councilmember Dr. Calvin Ball who recently announced his candidacy for County Executive, and to cast a shadow on those that have worked against us, such as Councilmember Jon Weinstein running again for County Council, and Mary Kay Sigaty who will be in the race for Maryland State Senate. We will also support their opponents, should they take an active position to support our opposition to CB21-2018.


Over the next two weeks, we will be putting out a series of shorter Notes from the President to detail what everyone who is still engaged in our fight and willing to do their part will need to know. These Notes will detail what is inherently wrong with CB21-2018, to remind you of the real and evidence-based health and safety risks associated with industrial/commercial mulching and composting, what has transpired over the past few months, and what our strategy will be this go-round. We will spell out specifically what swift action must be taken by all between now and the Council Public Hearing planned for Mon Apr 16, where we will once again testify in opposition to CB21-2018, and the Legislative Session likely on Mon Apr 30 when the Council will vote on the fate of industrial/commercial mulching and composting throughout Howard County.


Past performance is, unfortunately in this case, a good predictor of future events. Thanks to County Executive Kittleman, CB21-2018 bill sponsors Sigaty and Fox, and an ineffective DPZ, the deck is stacked against us once again, as it has been since the start of the Mulch Task Force in July 2014 all the way through failed passage of CB60-2017, and up to where we find ourselves once again, for the moment. We will need to do everything we accomplished together in 2014 and during our successful attempts in July 2017 to delay their plan to rush the vote by us for CB60 that same month. Will these delays ultimately work to our advantage? We hope so given we are now in election season and the stakes are higher for these candidates. One thing is for sure, we will be more aggressive than ever before. We hope to count on you for your support on many levels knowing that everyone remains concerned for their children, families and their communities should CB21-2018 pass in its current form. More to follow soon. Many thanks.


John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS


Fellow Supporters,

Hope everyone is doing well. Time to ramp up our support base once again. Below is a call to action with an immediate 24-hour request for everyone. Thanks for reading on and stepping up to help support all of our communities and for quickly forwarding this email to those in your personal and professional networks to help spread the word. It all matters and we can only hope for success if you decide to make it a priority to get involved.

Hard to believe that our fight is now entering its fourth year, almost to the day, but here we are.

Councilmembers Sigaty and Fox have put forth ZRA-183, and this time County Executive Kittleman declined to add his name to the proposal. Interesting. We will not let him off that easily, though. He will see what we think of his poor leadership on a huge issue potentially affecting the welfare of tens of thousands of families throughout Howard County, all the way up to the voting polls this Fall.

ZRA-183 is still full of loopholes that will allow for industrial mulching and composting across Howard County. At the Planning Board public hearing on January 11, Councilmember Sigaty acknowledged that commercial operations would be allowed under ZRA-183. Several of us testified at that meeting to oppose ZRA-183. We were pleased that the Planning Board chose to postpone their work session and vote in order to review all the points raised during the public testimony. This is definite progress over what transpired back in May 2017. That Planning Board open work session will be held this Thurs Feb 1 back in the Banneker Room within the George Howard Building, and looks to be last on the agenda.

Here is the pressing ask for your participation and action by noon on Thurs Feb 1. Please copy and paste the following statement (or write your own) and email to the Planning Board at by noon this Thurs Feb 1.

Our sincere thanks to the Planning Board for thoughtfully considering our health and safety concerns, and doing the proper due diligence in reviewing all testimony submitted. Thank you for taking the time needed before rendering a recommendation that will potentially affect thousands of families across Howard County, especially the rural communities in the West. This is even more problematic given that the ZRA sponsors acknowledged that this legislation would allow for commercial operations on ag preserve farmland, which is not allowed per the easements.

We urge the Planning Board to realize that this legislation would allow 1 acre of industrial mulching and 3 acres of industrial composting with Type 2 feedstock (food waste, animal mortality, manure) to be trucked in, processed and trucked out for commercial sale. This will increase disease burden through groundwater contamination, including heavy metals, carcinogenic wood dust, pathogenic endospores, and unbearable stench. Legislation resulting from ZRA-183 could potentially make Howard County farmland a collection of satellite waste dumps that will translate into health risks to families and safety risks to children waiting for school buses on rural roads that would be filled with tractor-trailer and 3-axle dump trucks carrying waste into and out of these facilities all day long. ZRA-183 also contains provisions that will allow for a total of 10 acres of industrial mulch/compost and the resultant tractor-trailer and 3-axle dump trucks traveling along residential community roads along their path. 


Please recommend that current CB20 remain active, or eliminate any ability to truck off product for industrial/commercial/retail sale, as well as eliminate allowing any Type 2 materials, such as food waste and animal by-products from slaughterhouses, into the farmland throughout Howard County. Thank you for your time and attention.


There will be several updates in the coming weeks to recap what has transpired over the past few months since the vote on Nov 6, and to unveil new strategies leading up to the next legislative vote soon as we become more aggressive in our efforts to win this go round. What we did together was amazing (thank you) but clearly not enough given we lost the vote 2-3 for CB60. If we are going to have any chance, either in the short-term (Planning Board/Feb 1), mid-term (County Council vote; likely March) or long-term (County Council and County Executive elections) to achieve our outcome to kill this bill once and for all, we need everyone to be prepared to do their part once again. Stay tuned. Many Thanks.


John Tegeris, PhD

President, DRPS

Please come and bring your neighbors too!

CB60: DPZzzzzzzzz...Asleep at the Wheel

We're not holding our breath (we may, though, if the county allows food and animal waste in compost for industrial processing), but we really do think the Concerned Citizens core team that has helped DPZ with its enforcement mandate has earned the right to receive a Certificate of Appreciation from DPZ for outstanding service to help catch violators in the act. But don't take our word for it, see for yourself what transpired from Mar 9 - Apr 21, 2017 (attached document showing chronology of events, especially April 19 meeting summary), and all that we did to help them enforce their own zoning regulations in the face of blatant violations to CB20 ongoing at Bonner/Oak Ridge. 

We could summarize the highlights from what is contained in the document, but think what we copied below tells the real story, one that is almost laughable if this weren't such a serious issue. Here you go, read for yourself and see if you agree that we had an impact on the outcome. We maintain that the burden should not be placed on residents to hold DPZ accountable to do the job they are paid and expected to do to protect the citizens of this county:

From DPZ letter dated March 9, 2017: "In response to your complaint received...please be advised, a representative of this Division inspected the property on February 24, 2017. The inspection failed to reveal any violations of the regulations."

From DPZ letter dated April 21, 2017 (after we supplied proof of ongoing unallowed activities): "In response to your complaints received...a representative of this Division inspected the property on February 24, 2017. The inspection revealed the following violations of the Howard County Zoning Regulations..."

County Executive Kittleman, who owns CB60, also must own DPZ's poor track record of enforcement for even the most blatant of violators. Last night you saw yet more proof, as the 5+ year journey of constant zoning violations continues on this parcel of MD ag farmland for Bonner/Oak Ridge, now extending to industrial soil processing.

Do the math. A bill (CB60) that allows for industrial mulching and composting with food/animal waste and many other loopholes + blatant violators with only a $1,000 fine for years of operating a business with continuous zoning violations + an ineffective DPZ, incapable of enforcing its own zoning regulations with any consistency = safety and health risks for our children and families.

It is simple math that truly does equate to a recipe for disaster for families residing in Howard County nearby to these types of industrial processing facilities that will be popping up on farmland all over the county. All of this is unacceptable, and we will continue to fight no matter how long it takes. 

Bottom line, keeping our families healthy and safe does require better leadership from the County Executive, Council Members who authored CB60, and DPZ leadership to protect our families. Please email County Executive Kittleman ( and the County Council ( to ask them to do a better job protecting you and your children.

Thank you for distributing to your network.

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS

"CB60: Don't Defend It, Amend It!"
Your voice and your vote matter. Elections are drawing near. 

Email to the Howard County Council and County Executive Kittleman from Environmental Health Expert at Johns Hopkins

From: John Groopman
Sent: Friday, November 3, 2017 10:19 AM
Cc: Victor Velculescu
Subject: Health risks regarding industrial composting and mulching related to CB60


I am writing with respect to the issue of health risks regarding industrial composting and mulching related to CB60. In background, I have been a Professor of Environmental Health in Schools of Public Health for over 35 years and for 19 years I chaired the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. My research and practice activities focus on environmental exposures that confer health risks to communities. I have been the co-director of the Maryland Cigarette Restitution funded program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine since 1999 and my laboratory is currently funded by the National Cancer Institute to address interventions for populations at risk from air pollution. Finally, I teach the required environmental health course for our annual 250 MPH students, many of whom live and work in Howard County.


I believe that great precaution is needed to consider the siting of the proposed use of the compost and other materials to be applied to lands that impact the breathing zones of residents. There is significant work in our School by faculty and students focused on airborne dispersal of chemical, physical and biological agents that can emerge from high-volume deposition of compost, soil, and waste. Very troublingly work has documented the creation of antibiotic resistant organisms in large animal feeding facilities such as those found on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. As you are aware antibiotics are extensively used in these large chicken and hog facilities and studies from our department have demonstrated the production of antibiotic resistant organisms that are then found in the mulch and composting materials in these animal facilities. These organisms are readily aerosolized and workers in these facilities become exposed to these antibiotic resistant organisms. This is something that we see in community based MRSA infections and it is a very major issue for people living near these large facilities. Since this material is often used to enhance soils for growing various plants the dispersion of these bedding materials is actually fairly widespread even in non-agriculturally intensive areas. Obviously, the dispersion of anything in the air crosses property lines in the same way that the international transmission of air pollutants cross country barriers all over the planet.


Further, it is obvious that the recent and ongoing fires in California illustrate the long-term and long-distance reach of particulate matter that's generated through the aerosolization of particulate matter that can deposit in the deep lung. In addition, most people spend 90 to 95% of their time indoors and when these pollutant materials get embedded in shoes that are then tracked into homes or become entrapped in environments where there is limited air exchange then you can have a constant source of exposure since most people do not use HEPA filter equipped vacuums for cleaning. Ironically in our experience if if these types of materials were found in the air in an elementary school in Howard County parents would be up in arms and demand immediate remediation.


Finally, we are all desirous of being as healthy as possible and we should not unnecessarily compromise health by having avoidable environmental contamination.




John D. Groopman

Edyth H. Schoenrich Professor of Preventive Medicine

Department of Environmental Health and Engineering

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Associate Director for Population Sciences

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

CB60: Promoting "Industrial" Farming on Farmland Near You

Thanks once again to County Executive Kittleman and CB60 authors Sigaty and Fox, here is sampling of what lies ahead on farmland throughout Howard County. Only thing missing is what is to come when we add to these photos industrial composting with food waste, animal mortality and manure that can be trucked in to create new levels of pestilence to contaminate our groundwater and put our families at risk for disease and, of course, noxious odors emanating from these piles.

Take a look at these recent photos below (also attached) showing activities ongoing at Bonner/Oak Ridge (MD ag preserve as farmland in perpetuity per the terms of the program), and write to County Executive Kittleman, who owns CB60, and Council Members Sigaty and Fox who authored it, to tell them which of these looks like legitimate farming operations. If you think none support true farming activities, then you are right. They are purely industrial processing despite what these three continue to claim are "not industrial activities." We asked before and ask again for them to publicly defend their position on the issue. The closest we can come to an explanation, and a bad one at that, was Council Member Sigaty's response to a related question at a public meeting (Glory Days) to say that these types of activities are not industrial but commercial, but was unable to explain what defines the difference. Ridiculous. DPZ calls some of it "accessory" use, but the definition of that is wide open and subject to interpretation, but likely not enforcement. While we all support true farming, this is clearly NOT farming.  The first shows different mulch piles, the second shows an ongoing land clearing debris transfer station, and the newest in the series of multi-year zoning violations shows soil processing/strip mining. All what is headed to a farm near you if CB60 passes without amendments.

Now take at the last photo from the Orndorff farm (Howard County ag preserve) to see what has resulted from likely thousands of 3-axle dump trucks over a five month span, the start coinciding with public release of CB60 (very interesting coincidence) that has caused anger and concern from many residents in the town of Dayton where the farm is located. Again, we sight safety concerns with so many of us witnessing these trucks speeding, trucks crossing the yellow line on rural Ten Oaks and Howard Roads, and these 3-axle dump trucks passing each other heading in opposite directions on tight, windy rural roads (I have shown video of it all), with no room to spare for children waiting on the edge of these roads to board school buses each morning and exit them again in the afternoon. These dump trucks likely weighing 28-30 tons when carrying full loads, are running all day up and down these same rural roads creating a serious safety risk for our children. 

We don't think this intensive five month effort to create what is depicted in the photo was all to support traditional crop farming. Could it be a foundation to support a home? Could it be a foundation to support commercial grade equipment for industrial processing such as soil/mulch/compost? Maybe. What we know by Orndorff's own claims is that he "follows the rules" (Bonner, on the other hand, does not). One thing is for sure, that this is the before photo. When CB60 is passed to create new rules for what is allowed, the after photo will likely tell a different story, and allow Orndorff to continue to follow the rules. Again, none of this is farming and will create health and safety risks despite County Executive Kittleman and CB60 authors' claims to the contrary.  

Please email County Executive Kittleman ( and the County Council ( to call for major amendments to CB60 that will prohibit industrial processing of any kind on RR and RC throughout Howard County.

Thank you for distributing to your network.

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS

"CB60: Don't Defend It, Amend It!"
Your voice and your vote matter. Elections are drawing near.
CB60: County Executive Kittleman - Stop Dragging Us through the Mulch

Well, here's a new twist. Apparently there is a way to process food waste in a closed environment after all. County Executive Kittleman and Council Members Sigaty and Fox: maybe we're not as crazy as you like to make us out to be. With the possibility of a solution such as bio-digestion recycling facilities, why put forth a bill as poor as CB60 that will allow open landfills to pop up all over Howard County, and put rural communities at risk for heath and safety concerns? Here's even another possible sustainable solution: responsibly grow county run landfills such as Alpha Ridge.

With regards to the bio-digestion recycling facility, this is obviously new information (please see the link below), and we certainly haven't had time to do due diligence looking into the potential health and safety impact of these facilities. The mere existence, however, of this technology in what appears to be a closed environment, tends to support that there are better solutions than putting our families at risk for carcinogens, heavy metals/neurotoxins, endospores, fires, noise, odor and, of course, tractor-trailers and 3-axle trucks up and down our rural roads all day and all weekend long (did I miss anything?). 

We are by no means saying that the biogas solution would eliminate all the risks associated with industrial mulching and composting, but the bill by the Careless Three and their supporting cast from DPZ doesn't even give the residents of Howard County a fighting chance.

Please email County Executive Kittleman ( and the County Council ( to tell them that we deserve better than CB60.

Thank you for distributing to your network.

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS

"CB60: Don't Defend It, Amend It!"
Your voice and your vote matter. Elections are drawing near.

UPDATE:  The HoCo Council never allowed Dr Velculescu
to testify before the Howard County Council in late October
before the November 6th Vote

Will the Howard County Council allow the MOST qualified expert to testify/present his health concerns and evidence before they vote?  No expert produced by the county is as qualified as Dr Velculescu is.

Please read the letter below that our lead medical expert, a renowned oncologist at The Johns Hopkins Medical Center, Dr. Velculescu, MD, PhD, sent to the Count Council on October 16th to defend key elements of his testimony regarding medical risks associated with industrial mulching and composting with food waste, animal mortality and manure (Type 2 feedstock). This letter was sent given that he was unable to attend the October 16th County Council Work Session due to a long standing commitment to speak that day at a medical conference in New York City.

It is important to note that he was asked to testify before the County Council on October 11, a date he was available to do so. The session was moved to accommodate Dr. Sigaty's experts, who were available on October 16. He did make himself available, however, for the October 23rd Work Session, but certain members of the County Council chose not to invite him to testify then. We have made a request to meet with members of the County Council next week and are hopeful they will grant these meetings in advance of the November 6th legislative vote for CB60. 

The experts that did, indeed, testify on October 16 to refute Dr. Velculescu's prior testimony are environmental scientists and not medical professionals. While they do possess experience in their respective area of expertise, they are not qualified to comment on the medical/health risks that industrial mulching and composting with food waste, animal mortality and manure pose to families that reside in communities nearby to these facilities. As with these two environmental experts, I also possess a doctoral degree in a related field with over 25 years of related experience (dual doctorate in Pharmacology and Toxicology, owned/operated a pharmaceutical and environmental testing laboratory, now serve as a technical expert for medical countermeasure advanced development within the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services). However,  I am also not qualified to speak to the medical risks without a medical degree.

We continue to work diligently on your behalf to bring light to the health and safety risks that CB60 will create, a bill that County Executive Kittleman supports and apparently still contends "will not allow for industrial mulching or composting" despite what the proposed zoning language reflects in CB60, unless major amendments are added.

From the October 16th work session, we find the following excerpt between Dr. Ball and DPZ Deputy Director Gowan representative of why we continue to push hard for amendments that protect the health and welfare of our families given the uncertainty these medical risks pose to families that live nearby to the types of facilities CB60 will allow for.

Dr. Ball: "You said you talked with folks in the environmental community and soil conservation district, did you talk to any medical professionals, did you have any of those folks as part of the team?"

Ms. Gowan: "No, and I meant environmental staff with the county, not the community, environmental staff with the county and soil conservation district staff."

Here is Dr. Velculescu's letter:

Dear Members of the County Council and Executive Kittleman,


I am writing let you know that I would be glad to be available for any questions to health issues related to CB60.   I have let Jessica Feldmark know that I would be available on October 11, 2017, the first date offered for a Council Work Session.  I will also be available at the next meeting October 23, 2017, and would be glad to make myself available on other occasions.   Unfortunately, I am not available on today, Monday October 16 due to my participation at a medical meeting in New York that was scheduled many months ago.  


I have seen the video testimony from the Work Session of October 2, 2017 where several erroneous points were raised by Council Member Sigaty, suggesting that the references in my presentation are from occupational risks and therefore are not relevant.  This is an incorrect conclusion by Ms. Sigaty. There are indeed many health risks posed by industrial mulch and composting facilities where the bioaerosol pollution of residential outdoor air can indeed be very similar to that of occupational environments.   To clarify this issue, please see items below.  I am also attaching to this email my presentation from 2014 as well as several recent publications that highlight the health dangers of industrial mulch and composting operations.  


1.  Wood dust is a carcinogen.   This is well-established as has been indicated by many national and international organizations, including the American Cancer Society, WHO, CDC, and the Department of Health and Human Services.  Importantly, wood dust is a carcinogen regardless of whether it arises from wood cutting occupations or from composting activities, as indicated in the 14th Report on Carcinogens from the US Department of Health and Human Services.  Please see attached document for further information.    


2.  Mulching and composting have health risks due to infectious agents.  My presentation from 2014 (attached) included many such examples.   See slides 3, 4, 5 and 23.  Please also see attached example medical references from Butler and colleagues and Siddiqui and colleagues.  


3.  Composting can lead to toxic and carcinogenic substances.  Please see slides 21 and 22.


4.  Dust from mulch and composting can lead to inflammatory effects.  Please see slide 24.


5.  Animal mortality and waste in composting can contaminate groundwater.  Please see slide 25. 


6.  Composting facilities have health effects on nearby communities.  Please see slides 26, 27, and 28 for examples in California, Maryland and Europe of negative outcomes from such facilities on nearby residents.  Please also see attached medical reference from Herr et al.  


7.  Infectious agents from mulch and composting facilities can pose health risks at significant distances.  See slides 31 and 32.  These studies detected infectious agents at up to 1000 – 2400 feet away from site.   


8.  Individuals living near composting sites have exposures similar to those in high risk occupations.   Please see attached article by Herr et al., describing a study performed in Germany of residents near a large-scale composting site.   The authors indicate “Bioaerosol pollution of residential outdoor air can occur in concentrations found in occupational environments.”    They also indicate “Concentrations of culturable airborne microorganisms, including molds, measured in the residential air during the study at 150 to 320 m from the composting site were 100–1000 times higher than those concentrations generally reported as natural background concentrations.”    


Looking forward further discussing any of these points with any of you. 


Please include this email and attached documents as part of the testimony for CB60 2017. 


Best regards,



Victor E. Velculescu, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Oncology and Pathology

Co-Director of Cancer Biology


Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

1550 Orleans St., Rm 544, Baltimore, MD 21287

Phone 410.955.7033  FAX 410.502.5742

Dear Supporters,

Since late June, County Executive Kittleman and Council Members Sigaty and Fox have tried to convince us that CB60 will not allow for industrial mulching or composting.
But, whether it’s 2 acres at a time dotted throughout Howard County (4 acres if two adjacent farmers work together), or 10 acres on one parcel along Interstate 70, with large trucks traveling a magic mile’s worth of rural roads, it’s still industrial. Why? Simple. If you truck in wood waste, food waste or animal waste for processing, and truck it back out for commercial sale, it IS an industrial operation, and the health and safety risks are too great to ignore.
Take a moment to picture the magnitude of a 10-acre mulch and compost facility with tractor-trailers and 3-axle trucks in and out all day, and email County Executive Kittleman for his explanation as to why this is not processing on an industrial scale.


Email your entire council by sending just one email!  

Email your County Executive here: Allan Kittleman

Oppose CB 60! Protect our health, safety, property values and quality of life!

Thank you for distributing to your network.

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS


Read the below article:

Health risks

The primary health risks from open-windrow composting are due to bioaerosols. Bioaerosols consist of organic dust, fungal spores and bacteria which can seriously damage human and animal health – and  even kill . To successfully operate any commercial composting site, from an Exempt License upwards, requires a rigorous and careful approach. However, even with best practice, harmful bacteria and fungi spores are produced and released into the air, resulting in human/animal health problems.

Current Environment Agency policy

For Exempt sites, the EA used to take the position that:
‘there will be a presumption against permitting (and to object to any application) of any new composting process (or modification to an existing process) where the boundary of the facility is within 250 m of a workplace or the boundary of a dwelling, unless the application is accompanied by a site-specific risk assessment, based on clear, independent scientific evidence which show that the bio-aerosol levels are and can be maintained at appropriate levels at the dwelling or workplace.’

The Geissen study, alonside more recent German studies, and research carried out at Sheffield University, brings into question this 250m limit (see Michael Clapham Statement in Parliament in 2007 

Following the Geissen study most states in Germany now adopt a 300-500m safe distance depending on the size of the site. Austria and Denmark have also adopted 500m safe limits.

In Nov ’07 the EA produced guidance 405-07(see  revised EA policy ) that removed their responsibility for objecting to planning applications but maintained the 250m buffer zone.

In Nov 2010 the EA published new interim guidance ‘ composting and potential health effects from bioaerosols ‘. This precludes the issuing of NEW permits for commercial open windrow composting when there are sensitive receptors within 250m. For existing sites in this category the EA is rolling out the requirement to undertake bioaerosol monitoring on a quarterly basis. Although we support this in principle we have major concerns about how this is being conducted (see bioaerosol monitoring below)

In terms of bioaerosol assessments (looking at the risks prior to operations) rather than monitoring after the event, it is our experience that the EA are now asking for more reports AFTER planning consent is given. This means the EA are expecting Councillors to make decisions on planning applications without the benefit of such reports and all further documentation is carried out behind closed doors. We recommend you use the Environment Impact Assessment legislation to fight this (see relevant section of this web-site).

Much of the research that has been carried out on these harmful bacteria and fungi has centered on healthy males wearing protective equipment who tend to operate these sites; not females, not children and not animals.

Our MP, Steve Webb, has specifically asked the Government about the research carried out and it has been confirmed there is none (see  Parliamentary questions ).

The Nov Guidance changes the ‘acceptable’ levels of bioaerosols to the EA have now at least stipulated what levels of bioaerosols they regard as ‘unsafe’:
  • 1,000 cfum3 (total bacteria)
  • 300 cfum3 (gram-negative bacteria)
  • 500 cfum3 (Aspergillus Fumigatus)

Whether these truly are safe levels is hard to say.

The facts about the 250m limit

It seems that the EA’s studies on the ‘safe distance’ for bioaerosols have all been carried out in the flat topography of Norfolk. In hilly areas the bioaerosols do not ‘clump’ together and can therfore travel much greater distances.
The HSE have recognised the additional problems when compost sites are located on top of a hill (see letter from  Dr Brian Crook  to residents of Stourbridge.)

New ‘source data’ (ie which bioaerosols and the quantity of bioaerosols produced by a typical open windrow composting site) have recently been published by the EA in association with Cranfield University. When some of the top experts in the country are putting these numbers into quantitative assessments for clients using dispersion modelling techniques, these are showing that, bioaerosols do not seem to fall to background levels until distances of 700-900m away from the sites are reached. This is in line with the fluid dynamics modelling carried out recently at Sheffield University.
Although we are yet to see the paperwork, we are advised verbally that Bedforshire County Council and the local EA have agreed sites must be at least 350m away from sensitive receptors as a result of all the problems that stemmed from a facility in Haynes. Interestingly Baroness Young lives in Bedfordshire and was reviewing this paperwork as Joan Ruddock was stating in Parliament that there was no problem with the 250m limit!

So, all in all, behind the scenes the EA are under a fair amount of pressure on the 250m limit but at the moment they are sticking doggedly with it. To adopt a different limit of say 500m and close down all the sites within this limit would,of course cost the EA a fortune because they could be sued by each and every operator for any lost profits.

So we believe, in spite of the evidence of cases of ill health, notably cases of aspergilliosis at three different sites, the EA are not going to give up the 250m easily, in fact we believe it will take a court case to change things.

Bioaerosol monitoring

Whilst we support the principle of bioaerosol monitoring by operators we are extremely concerned about the following:
  • A failure to agree an appropriate protocol for determining exactly which bioaerosols should be detected and which methodology for obtaining accurate results should be used.
  • EA officers in most regions are advising that unannounced testing cannot take place, yet at the Bryn site in Gelligaer, Wales the EA are insisting that consultants do just this.Without unannounced testing the operator can improve bioaerosol monitoring results by eg damping down windrows, carrying out activities which tend to result in less bioaerosols, turn finished compost rather than active compost etc.
  • Testing is being carried out when wind conditions make it obvious that there is no risk to sensitive receptors on that day. There are always going to be days when the residents are not exposed to bioaerosols. Surely the authorities should be interested in those days when a problem is much more likely?
  • Consultants are being deliberately obscurant when describing activity at the site.
  • We do not believe there is any mechanism in place to ensure unfavourable results are actually supplied to the regulator. Wouldn’t an operator simply repeat the testing under more favourable conditions?
  • Only local officers with little or no expertise are reviewing the bioaerosol reports.

False reassurance is being claimed from reports when it is clear that either very little activity or lower bioaerosol generating activities have been taking place on the site.

In other words BEWARE of bioaerosol monitoing reports. Read them very carefully to see what they aren’t telling you as well as what they are telling you. Remember is is not unusual for figures of >100,000 cfus to be recorded at 5-10m away from a site. If figures at this distance are always low, someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

What information should you expect the EA to demand before an Exemption/permit is granted?

For all sites, the key control which the EA have relied on seems to be the 250m limit.

Within this buffer zone you would expect the EA to demand a much higher level of risk data to be provided. Unfortunately this has not been the case and there are numerous compost sites causing problems which have been allowed to be located when there are occupied dwellings within the all important 250m zone. Under the new Nov 2010 legislation no new permits will be issued for open windrow sites OR non fully enclosed sites if there are sensitive receptors are within the 250m. Make you measurements VERY carefully.

For sites operating under the new Standard Permits (those which intend to take in 5,000 tonnes or more of green waste material) one of the key conditions always precluded activity from being located within 250 m of occupied dwelling and continue to do so. If operators wish to continue/start up activities when sensitive receptors are within the 250m boundary they should only be permitted to do so IF the processing and maturation activities are fully enclosed and even then they would require a bespoke permit.

The difficulty now arises if your operator wishes to set up an open windrow or partially enclosed facility at a distance of 250m to 500m away from sensitive receptors. It is clear that, under these conditions, problems will often arise. Our advice is that if your site requires a bespoke permit or falls into the 250-500m category then you must demand from your local EA office that nothing less than a full quantitative risk assessment for bioaerosols is prepared. If the EA do not seem inclined to ask for this (and our experience has been that the EA often do not challenge poorly written and non-sensitive qualitative reports), you must get the help of a specialist technical consultant to challenge this decision. Only such a document will show the likely exposure levels for nearby receptors.

What is a Quantitative risk assessment?

A quantitative risk assessment is a detailed modelling exercise carried out, taking account activity of the site, local climatic conditions throughout the day, and the local topography to provide a risk profile of how many times (over a 1 year to 5 year period) the safe levels of bioaerosols are likely to be exceeded. (For more details see ‘ Bioaerosols submission ‘ to Planning Inspector for Appeal at Old Sodbury site.)

In practice up until now (February 2009) the EA argued that, for open windrow sites, quantitative assessments could not be done. because of the inadequacy of the available ‘source data’ (explained above). Since the publication of the more accurate source data by Cranfield University, in December 2008, this is no longer the case. However, arguments about the optimum modelling techniques are still unresolved.

Unfortunately, a quantitative risk assessment for bioaerosols can cost upwards of £10,000 and is outside the reach of many resident’s groups. Unfortunately there are some rather unscrupulous environmental consultants out there who will provide what an operator wants. However, at this stage it is possible to pay one of the quality firms to critique the assessment and this would cost you rather less.

Beware of claims made in planning applications

If forced, the applicant will usually simply provide a qualitative assessment on bioaerosols stating that the wind direction (which is taken from the nearest favourable wind rose data) proves that eg ‘sensitive receptors will only suffer from problems 10% of the time.’ This would still give residents a problem 36 days a year and is simply NOT sufficient. By its very nature wind direction is not site specific and does not take into account local climatic and topological conditions. If bioaerosol risk assessments were as simple as looking at wind direction, the whole science of dispersion modelling and fluid dynamics would not have been developed!

Background levels of bioaerosols must be provided. Since the effect of bioaerosols is CUMULATIVE, and background levels of bioaerosols in rural areas can often exceed the 1,000 cfum3, anyway such information is very important. Background levels increase during Spring -Autumn and are at their highest at the beginning and end of a day so provision of readings in the winter months at mid-day when wind dispersion is at its highest is simply a con.
Likewise carrying out bioaerosol measurements when the compost operation is not active is not worth the paper it’s written on. In the EA’s Technical Guidance on Composting Operations, October 2001 it is recognised that ‘bacteria and fungi are released into the air throughout the composting process but are particularly prevalent during operations such as screening, shredding and turning.’ They are particularly high during turning and it would not be unusual to record figures of >100,000 cfus within 10 metres of the site. Bioaerosols however, can also be released during spreading if the composting process has been cut short or not carried out properly and then there is real trouble because they are released from such a massive surface area.

When considering the impact of bioaerosols and their monitoring, it is important to realize that bioaerosols generally cannot be detected by human eye and they DO NOT smell so the Public are not aware when they are breathing them in.

The evidence of health problems: The theory

A chronology of the EAs changing position on bioaerosols and a summary of some of the key findings from the EA’s latest commissioned report on the risks (DEFRA WR0606) can be found  here .

In the case of Old Sodbury the applicant submitted a desk–top bioaersol assessment. Our expert’s comments on the quality of this assessment are telling (see  Critique of bioaerosol Report ). This critique includes a full list of the health problems associated with emissions form compost sites (pages 6 & 7).

Certain people in the population are going to be particularly susceptible to the bioaerosols, the elderly(because of the high prevalence of pre-existing respiratory problems in this group), the very young (particularly under 6 year olds), any person with an existing chest complaint such as asthmatics, immunosuppressed individuals such as cancer patients and those suffering from conditions such as diabetes.

The most pernicious fungi generated by compost facilities is a fungi called Aspergillus Fumigatus. A recent case highlights how quickly death can be ( Death by compost ) for those who are genetically susceptible.

However, Aspergillus often lays dormant in people for many years and may only come to the fore if you suffer some damage to your immune system. Once it takes hold however, there is no ‘cure’ so these compost farms could well be a time-bomb in a similar way to asbestos.

To read more about the diseases caused in humans by Aspergillus, please refer to the following web-sites:

The evidence of health problems: The Practice

Michael Clapham MP, champion of rights for coal miners afflicted by lung disease, cites the situation at a green waste composting facility in Stourbridge. A consultant acting for the group has provided details of 12 residents whose health has been grossly affected by the site, 2 of the 12 developing Aspergilliosis (See  and then page down to debate on ‘Open Windrow Composting’)

The technical adviser to the group has described the position in his own words to another local authority considering a similar application

In a case in Wakefield another man attributes his Aspergilliosis (and subsequent lung removal) to the nearby green waste transfer station (see  Barnsley Chronicle )

We have recently (February 2009) been advised of case of  Bronchiectasis  -an allergic response to inhaled fungal spores caused by a compost farm in Stafford.

The endotoxins generated can produce meningitis in infants, and we now know of one operator who developed meningitis.

Obviously Aspergilliosis, bronchiectasis and meningitis are at the extreme end of the health problems that can be caused. However, many residents afflicted by compost sites report a worsening of conditions such as asthma, in itself an extremely upsetting and unpleasant condition. In Old Sodbury, although no official records were kept, the headmaster of the nearby primary school and the local cubmaster noted a significant increase in the number of inhalers required by the children.

Clearly all these cases have and are being raised with the EA. We ask just how many cases of a serious (possibly fatal) disease do these sites have to generate before action is taken?

Animal health issues

It has become clear that there are serious risks to livestock grazing close to compost farms (see  veterinary report ). When a farmer in Cheshire took the EA to court because the Aspergillus from an exempt open windrow compost farm were making their dairy herd miscarry, the EA did not amend their national policy accordingly but simply removed their responsibility for animal health (see  Solicitor’s letter )! Animals not only inhale the airborne spores but also inhale and ingest the spores on the grass as they feed. As far as we have been able to establish no research has been carried out on the effects of compost facilities on grazing animals, even though the effects of Aspergillus on animals are well recorded in standard veterinary textbooks. No safe limits for animals have been established, so even if you do monitor, you could not establish that the levels are dangerous.

The Quality Meat Scotland Mark cannot be placed on any meat where the livestock have grazed on land where this green waste compost has been spread ( Summary Decision ).

The big supermarkets are not convinced of the disease-free nature of the compost generated by farms and are asking for more evidence before they will allow animals grazed on such land to be a source of meat for their shelves.
In conclusion therefore, the pressure to compost material is so great that the risks are being ignored and in our view it will take a number of court cases to force this policy to change.

Archived Letters from the President by Date:

Our Fight to Prevent
Industrial Mulching and Industrial Compost
on Howard County farmland

Our Fight to Prevent Industrial Mulching (NWWR) and

Industrial Compost (Tier 2 materials that include food waste/animal mortality/manure)

on farmland in Howard County

VOTE:  Oct 2nd - Howard County Council will decide


Fellow supporters,


It has been over 1,000 days since we began the fight to oppose industrial mulching and now industrial composting with Tier 2 materials that include trucking in of food waste and animal mortality (animal parts; think slaughterhouses). For me personally, it has meant many of those days working late into the night, really what has amounted to a second full-time job, working hard on the fight to protect us, our children, families and neighbors, from the health and safety effects that would result if we allowed industrial mulching and industrial composting into Howard County. NOW is the time we need everyone to step up and be present and accounted for, more than ever, on Oct 2, if you align with us on the seriousness of what lies ahead tomorrow.


On Mon Oct 2, the County Council will do something highly unusual. At the scheduled Legislative Session, following the Introduction of New Legislation, the Council has scheduled a “Recess for Work Session on Council Bill 74-2017, Council Resolution 124-2017, and Council Bill 60-2017,” immediately followed by a vote on CB60. All this instead of adding continued discussion of CB60 to the next scheduled County Work Session. Why the rush, you might ask?

During the Sept 25 Work Session, Councilmembers Terrasa and Ball were asking hard questions related to our health and safety concerns. Those questions were answered ambiguously, flippantly, or not at all. It seems that Councilmembers Sigaty and Fox may have noticed that our health and safety concerns were being taken seriously, and in an effort to not lose more ground on their position, they have pushed for an immediate vote on their bill. 


FIRST...  We need a strong call to action! 

We need everyone to email to ask again that adequate amendments (copy from below) be added to CB60 and to urge the Council to delay the vote in order to give this matter the time necessary to carefully address our issues of concern. These amendments include the following:

  1. No NWWR on RR or RC in Howard County (no commercial sale of mulch, no large 3-axle/tractor trailer trucks carrying wood product in or mulch/logs off the farm).

  2. No NWWR ‘by right’ on M1/M2. Appropriate control measures (i.e., covering of mulch piles, adequate distances/setbacks from residential communities/schools) need to be in place through Conditional Use hearing.

  3. No Tier 2 materials of food waste, animal mortality or manure trucked onto the farm or M1/M2 for composting (only Tier 1 materials) and only use on/by/for the farm.

  4. Maximum allowable and escalating fines permitted by the State of MD for continuous violators of current zoning regulations (need better deterrents given DPZ’s inability or unwillingness to properly enforce these regulations to protect our communities).

SECOND...  We need a strong turnout TOMORROW NIGHT,

Monday, October 2nd

in the Banneker Room

of the George Howard Building

3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD

starting at 7pm

Please spread the word. We have been talking to the media outlets (Channel 11 has been in contact with us and had a media van at the Sept 25 open work session) and will continue to do so for the update and concerns about what will unfold on Oct 2.


I do not envy the position Council Chair Weinstein finds himself in, but being elected to a position of leadership has earned him the right to be held accountable to a higher standard. Scheduling and taking the appropriate time to work through amendments to CB60 is the right thing to do for everyone in Howard County. Attempting to correct or mitigate unintended consequences from a bill that is rushed to a vote will take far more work than simply crafting the bill thoughtfully from the start.


It is the responsibility of all Council members elected to uphold the trust and faith placed in them by the people they represent, and to give adequate time and consideration to ensure that quality of life, health and safety is protected for everyone. The potential impact of CB60 is so extreme that it deserves the benefit of full consideration, without being rushed to a vote.


Council Chair Weinstein finds himself squarely in the middle on a very divided issue, with Councilmembers Sigaty and Fox on one side and Councilmembers Terrasa and Ball on the other. He will play a critical role in a vote that decides whether or not CB60 passes with amendments adequate to protect us from the safety and health risks of industrial mulching and composting.


We have been battling this fight for over three and a half years. We thought we won it with passage of CB60 in 2014. Not even close. The process that started with the Mulch Task Force in July 2014 was designed to end up right where we are, back at the beginning.


We are not crazy, we are angry. We are angry because there continues to be poor leadership on this issue, starting at the top with County Executive Kittleman and extending not only to Councilmembers Fox and Sigaty, but also to DPZ Director Lazdins and Deputy Director Gowan. Take a drive around the County and tell us how many mulch or compost operations are ongoing to support legitimate farming operations. We can’t find any. Here are just some of the facts from the County Council Open Work Session on Sept 25 alone as to why at least the authors of CB60, Councilmembers Sigaty and Fox, deciding on the fate of CB60 are not doing right by you, your children, or your families:


  1. The County has done nothing to refute the well-established medical risks of cancer due to wood dust, as stated by international and national health agencies. We have provided numerous references and the only response to our assertion has been one testimony on Sept 11 from an individual who is not in the medical field and not a physician (it was apparently good enough for Councilmembers Sigaty and Fox to quickly check the box and move on). Regardless of the source of the wood dust, those exposed, whether workers in a furniture factory or residents nearby to an industrial mulch facility, are at increased risk for cancer. Councilmember Terrasa asked the CB60 authors to tell her who from the County has been assigned the responsibility of looking into these potential medical risks, since no one on the Council has the level of medical expertise necessary for that task.

Councilmember Sigaty responded by calling on Jeff Danis, who runs the Alpha Ridge mulch facility, to address this question. Mr. Danis stated he was not a medical expert. She then asked what expert had presented at the Mulch Task Force to address the medical concerns. Mr. Danis responded that it was an environmental expert. Again, not medical and not nearly good enough. She then raised with him the issue of MDE oversight. MDE, however, is the Maryland Department of the Environment, and is not a medical agency or organization. What those who crafted the bill missed here was an opportunity to applaud MDE for fining Recycled Green (ownership interest then by Bonner) $50,000 in 2012 for high microbial activity due to food waste in the compost at their Woodbine/Carroll County industrial facility. MDE shut down that composting operation due to food waste (food waste could no longer be trucked in for processing with the compost). Again, high microbial activity that contaminates groundwater, yes the groundwater our children drink in the rural West, will lead to a higher disease burden. Is the risk of illness and infection to our families from contaminated groundwater worth the risk to County leadership? I’m guessing the answer is yes since, even with recent amendments filed on Sept 28, CB60 still allows for Tier 2 materials (food waste, animal mortality, manure) to be in compost. The Brendel brothers, who own Level Land, do NOT have Tier 2 materials a part of their composting operation, they have only Tier 1 wood waste.

2.  Commenting on the fact that wood dust is on the list of known carcinogens, Councilmember Fox mockingly noted that, “you might want to stop drinking alcohol, it was right there with it, same thing with sunlight.” I assume his point was to say that we can’t get rid of the sun, but his lack of medical expertise and a lack of real understanding of our concerns for medical risks with industrial mulching/composting, has him way off the mark. Firstly, unprotected exposure to the sun is well-documented to increase the risk of cancer, primarily melanoma. So let’s be clear, sunlight is on the list of known carcinogens for scientific/medical evidence-based reasons. Secondly, a very important point here, is that we can control what level of sunlight we are exposed to by staying inside or applying sunscreen. The point we are making is that residents nearby to industrial mulch and compost facilities will not be able to control what is carried in the air and blows their way (not just wood dust but also endospores). We can’t control the heavy metals contamination (primarily manganese) that occurs in our groundwater, the water our children drink, due to mulch leachate displacing these metals (read the NY State Report to see the facts). We can stay inside or move our families, but the County should not allow these choices to be forced upon us. The tobacco industry, with smoking linked to lung cancer, faced a similar fate. Smoking not only puts the smoker at health risk but also those that inhale second-hand smoke. This is why most restaurants and businesses are smoke-free. We only want our County Council to make our County industrial mulch/compost-free for the same basic reasoning.

3.  Councilmember Sigaty also asked Mr. Danis to comment on animal mortality in compost. He responded to say that the County has a process for handling roadkill. Again, more deflection from the real issue of animal mortality in compost due to a dismissive attitude, or due to not understanding the issue. We are not talking about one deer killed on the roadside but, rather, animal carcasses being trucked in on a large scale, from slaughterhouses, to turn our farmland into a wasteland. Just imagine the health risks (enter pestilence and stench). This is also the concern with trucking in food waste on a large scale from hospitals and/or restaurants (really, who knows from where) for industrial composting in Howard County.

4.  Councilmembers Sigaty and Fox were also unable to field questions from Councilmember Terrasa with acceptable answers regarding allowing industrial mulching and composting with Tier 2 materials by right in M1/M2 zones to present many of the same safety and health risks. These facilities need to be located far removed from residential communities that do exist and are on the rise in these zones. Mr. Orndorff was called up by Councilmember Sigaty to address his operation. He stated that he needed to move his Elkridge industrial mulch facility, which was located on M1/M2, due to concerns over health risks to residents living nearby that industrial operation. He also provided a map of his new industrial mulching facility operation and stated inaccurately that residents were at least a mile from his facility. Councilmember Terrasa countered by pointing out that several residential communities (not appearing on the map) were within half a mile (possibly closer) of his industrial mulching facility.  (Residents in Dayton near the Muth/Brown farm he bought live hundreds of feet away and are at serious risk!)

5.  Out of the 85 minutes provided for discussion of CB60, 70 minutes were occupied by DPZ’s slide presentation on the proposed amendments and Mr. Danis’ supporting comments. For the final 15 minutes, Mr. Orndorff was called to speak. That presentation by DPZ was the first time Councilmembers Terrasa and Ball were made aware of the proposed amendments. At Councilmember Terrasa’s and Ball’s request coming out of the open work session, DPZ attempted to link the presentation slides to the CB60 document by referencing pages in the document. Unfortunately, DPZ initially provided to the Councilmembers and posted on the Howard County website an incorrect version of the changed CB60 document, thereby adding to the confusion. As a point of contrast, the 5 hours of the work session prior to the 85 minutes given to CB60, was devoted to discussion on CB61/62 for APFO (even after that 5 hours, discussion on CB61/62 is being continued at the next scheduled Legislative Work Session). And, following the 85 minutes given to discussion of CB60, the Council spent 2 hours discussing CB74 and Council Resolution 174. Again, why is CB60 being rushed and squeezed through the process, and with unorthodox measures? Please ask County Executive Kittleman, to whom DPZ reports, for the real answer. 

6.  Absent from the DPZ proposed amendments was any limitation on truck size related to mulch/composting activities permitted to enter/exit a facility. In a meeting with County Executive Kittleman, DPZ, Councilmembers Sigaty/Fox, two people representing the farmers and two representing the residents, it was clearly reflected that truck size (less than 10K lbs GVW, tantamount to a pickup truck) would be included in the amendments. NOT the case. To control these mulch/compost activities from becoming industrial, it is necessary to prohibit large trucks from entering/exiting these facilities. This is key to keeping residents safe from the health and safety risks from these operations.

7.  In an interaction with Ms. Gowan (DPZ Deputy Director) after the work session, she was asked about the Bonner/Oak Ridge continuing violations (3-axle trucks and tractor-trailer trucks continue in and out of that facility all day in violation to current CB20 zoning regulations). She responded to say that they are taking the matter to court and there is nothing else they can do. Let us remind everyone that DPZ initially closed the investigation due to lack of evidence to support any unallowed activities. Only after our core team meeting with County Executive Kittleman and DPZ Director Lazdins, where we provided photos and indisputable proof of the ongoing egregious violations, did DPZ issue a letter to the complainant reflecting that “the case was closed prematurely.” Again, the burden of required enforcement should NOT be on the citizens to hold DPZ accountable to properly enforce the zoning regulations. We will be watching this case closely to see if the Office of Law provides evidence consistent with what we provided during our meeting with County Executive Kittleman, and what continues on Bonner/Oak Ridge to this day.

The list could go on and on, but these are the real lowlights from the events that have unfolded in just the last week. This all continues to be shocking and unfortunate, but we keep pressing on.

We will hope miracles happen on Oct 2, but if they do not, we will start to focus our attention on the elections to put new, better leaders in office and for whatever else lies ahead to keep fighting for our health, safety and quality of life.

Thank you again for all of the support, outstanding testimony and for the upcoming great turnout on Oct 2 for all who strongly oppose CB60.


John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS





MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25th is Open Work Session. 
ATTEND to show you OPPOSE CB 60.  Please arrive at 4PM. 

Our issue is second on their agenda and they will start at 3PM
but not likely get to CB 60 until 4:30PM. 

September 25, 2017
Fellow Supporters,

Thanks for the strong turnout and fabulous testimony provided on Sept 11. All told, more than fifty
people testified to strongly oppose CB60 due to the many well documented health, safety and
environmental risks resulting from industrial mulching and composting facilities.

To mention a few key
highlights, we heard strong testimony from our medical expert, Victor Velculescu, MD, from Joanne Heckman representing the Sierra Club, from a neuroscientist regarding heavy metals groundwater
contamination, from Ted Mariani representing CCWHC, and from Dan O’Leary representing the Highland
community. Several more provided outstanding testimony and we are grateful to all that stepped up to
support our cause in opposition to CB60, whether by writing emails to our County Council and County
Executive to voice your concerns, by providing testimony before the County Council, or simply by
showing up at all the key meetings (two more to follow soon) as one large unified voice to oppose CB60.

Before we move on, I’d like to set the record straight about a specific flyer that was circulated this

summer. After I was made aware that this flyer existed, I promised to address the issue. I want to make
it clear that DRPS was in no way involved with the creation or distribution of that flyer. We were not
aware of its existence until Councilmember Fox showed it to me after the July 17 legislative session. I am
not going to give the flyer more airtime by repeating its contents here, I will simply repeat strongly and
emphatically that DRPS was not involved with that flyer, and we do not condone the message on that
flyer. We are not the only voice of opposition in this matter. We cannot control what everyone says,
prints, or posts.
And we are not finished yet. What lies ahead is the County Council open work session on Sept 25 and
the legislative vote by the County Council likely on Oct 2. The Council open works session will begin at
3pm back in the Banneker Room, but we are told CB60 will be second on the agenda and not likely to
begin until 4:30pm. At this meeting, we will be in listen only mode to hear with interest the fate of CB60.
We ask our County Council to strongly reject the recommendation by the Planning Board rendered on
May 25 to move forward with CB60, and instead to leave CB20 in full force and effect.
CB20 has
allowed those in the farming community to continue legitimate farming activities, while pursuing legal
action against those clearly in continuous violation of CB20, specifically Bonner/Oak Ridge.
Please make EVERY effort to attend both the Sept 25 and Oct 2 Council meetings so we continue to
apply pressure to the process as thousands united together with one voice to oppose CB60 and to be a
present reminder that we will hold Howard County leadership accountable. You are proving that
communities can sustain what is clearly not a fair fight, so let’s finish strong together.
Simply put, we accomplish nothing without you.
We represent likely tens of thousands of voters
throughout the County that will be watching closely to see how our County Council votes on the fate of CB60, given this is no longer an issue facing just the rural west but now has become a countywide issue due to the clear zoning language contained in CB60 that WILL allow for industrial mulching and industrial composting facilities to operate on RR and RC farmland throughout Howard County (aka, trucking in/out
of industrial mulch/compost for commercial sale and no tie to legitimate farming activities). Please read
pages 24/compost and page 28/NWWR of CB60 (found by searching CB60-2017 at or by the active link on our DRPS website ( to
see that 5 acres of each (10 acres total) on a farm of just 100 acres or more is allowed without
restriction, hence industrial processing for commercial sale.
This is fact, despite what County Executive
Kittleman, and Council members Sigaty and Fox continue to assert in distorting the truth based on what is clearly stated in CB60. These three County leaders can continue to attempt to confuse the facts, but pages 24 and 28 tell the clear story of allowing industrial processing of mulch and compost (and Tier 2 at that) and allowing for industrial grade trucks and industrial tub grinders to conduct processing to ship
out product in tractor-trailer or 3-axle trucks (no size or frequency restrictions) exclusively for
commercial sale with NO reference to legitimate farming activities on RR and RC farmland, aka
on/by/for the farm.
If this is not industrial processing, then please do tell us what is. You owe us at least

that explanation if you care about the health and welfare of our children and our families, which is a
main reason we elected you into office and trusted you to carry out these duties responsibly.
Regardless of what is so far a dismissive attitude over our health and safety concerns for industrial
mulching/composting activities by CB60 authors/sponsors Council members Sigaty and Fox, we have
done an effective job substantiating that mulch (wood) dust is carcinogenic, that industrial mulching
operations cause heavy metals groundwater contamination, and that food waste in compost will
increase microbial activity in groundwater to unsafe, unacceptable levels that put our children and
families at risk for illness and disease.
To the point of food waste and animal mortality in compost, let me be clear: allowing this has already
proven to be problematic. You will find a link on our DRPS homepage that directs you to Maryland
Department of the Environment (MDE) 2012 enforcement action finding Recycled Green in violation and
fined $50,000 for food waste in compost that resulted in unacceptable high levels of microbial activity in
the groundwater. Specifically, MDE documented discharges of wastewater containing elevated levels of
bacteria from the facility. Not surprising, Recycled Green had Bonner as an owner of this industrial
mulch and compost facility located in Woodbine/Carroll County, and he continues to operate in
violation of CB20 at Oak Ridge, even with the Consent Order issued by the Hearing Examiner in Nov
2014 to shut down the ongoing industrial mulching operation at Bonner/Oak Ridge. This has been
ongoing continuously since 2012, with only a $1,000 fine to show for it. Even the Brendel brothers
stated during their testimony that they conduct composting on their farm, but it is only Tier 1 (no Tier 2
that includes food waste, animal mortality and manure). CB60 will make Howard County a dangerous
wasteland. Where is County Executive Kittleman in all of this? Where is the leadership needed at this
critical time?
Mark my words, we will continue to fight this issue all the way through the 2018 elections if the
outcome from the legislative vote likely on Oct 2 for the fate of CB60 does not go far enough to protect
children and families from these health and safety risks for those that will reside nearby to these
facilities. This applies not only to the rural communities adjacent to farmland in the rural West, but also
to residents living in M1/M2 industrial zones elsewhere throughout the County. We keep fighting,
knowing everything we do matters. Thanks for staying the course. With much appreciation,
John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS

Read more about RECYCLED GREEN INDUSTRIES here. 

RLO Contractors owned by Bob Orndorff is clearing Route 32 trees for the widening of 32 project.  In doing so, he has created these large mulch piles along Route 32.  Where will they go from here?  The Howard County Council just contacted DRPS today (Sept 25th) to say they were told the piles will be spread across the site at 32.  Will there be any leftover?  Where will it go?

Mr Orndorff still owns the Muth/Brown farm in Dayton at Green Bridge and Howard roads.  What will happen to that farm land after CB 60 is passed?  Will he apply for and be granted a conditional use permit to finally get back to his 2014 proposed business of manufacturing mulch and compost on his agriculturally preserved farmland we live around? 

If he succeeds, what will happen to Ten Oaks road which is already overrun with traffic dumping off every day when 32 is backed up?  TRUCKS, TRUCKS, TRUCKS! 

Mulch from a job site is a commercial product and not made on the farm, for the farm or by the farm.

Business owners like Bob Orndorff will be able to use the cheap farmland they purchased with the low Ag Preserve taxes they pay to turn their newly acquired "farms" into industrial businesses at the expense of our safety and health. 

It's imperative County Executive Kittleman shut down all potential for mulch and compost on the Dayton farm and all other vulnerable farms across Howard County from being exploited by business owners. 

WE MUST OPPOSE CB 60 and if passed, it must be heavily amended to close the loopholes to farms being exploited by businessmen recycling wood waste and manufacturing compost on farms. 

CB60 – Amend it, Don’t Defend it!

September 7, 2017


Fellow Supporters,


We are fast approaching the continuation of our testimony to strongly oppose CB60 as it currently stands. As of right now, CB60 allows for both industrial mulching and industrial composting, with food waste, animal mortality, and manure, on all RR and RC farmland throughout the County. What would be allowed under CB60, which also applies to State of MD ag preserve farmland, is 5 acres of mulch processing plus 5 acres of compost processing, for 10 total acres with no tie to farming. It also allows product to be trucked off for commercial sale or sold onsite for retail sale. How anyone can argue that this is anything but limitless industrial processing is beyond our comprehension. Feel free to email County Executive Kittleman to see if he can explain this to us since CB60 is his bill.


In the meantime, the public hearing continues on Monday September 11, at 6pm in the Banneker Room, with a possible further extension to Sept 18 should it be necessary in order to hear all citizens signed up to testify. The vote will not be easy for us and as such we need our strongest turnout ever that evening. Mary Kay Sigaty and Greg Fox, co-authors of CB60 presented on behalf of County Executive Kittleman, will place 2 of 5 important votes against us for the bill they crafted, which will allow for industrial mulching and industrial composting on RR and RC land in Howard County.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to when then-candidate Kittleman was running for the County Executive seat back in 2014. We gave him a platform to spread his message against industrial mulching on ag preserve farmland, which we believe helped him secure the win over a tightly contested race against Courtney Watson who failed to take as strong a position opposing industrial mulching. In the article referenced below, then State Senator Kittleman condemns DPZ, which under his leadership is now incapable of taking enforcement action against even the clearest violators of CB20 without pressure from the community.


The full article appearing in the Baltimore Sun/Howard County Times on Aug 13, 2014 can be accessed directly through the following weblink:


Please read the following excerpt and shake your head given the irony of it all and where we find ourselves again now after working hard to succeed with passage of CB20:


Republican county executive candidate Allan Kittleman had strong words for Howard County's Department of Planning and Zoning Monday night at a town hall in Glenwood.


In what would become a theme throughout the night, Kittleman, a state senator from West Friendship, first broached the topic while answering a question about mulching on preserved farmland in the county, a practice he says he opposes when it's done on a large scale.


"I don't think industrial mulching is a proper use on a preserved farm," he told the audience of about two dozen people gathered at the Glenwood Library, but, "I think this is a bigger issue than just that. ... Here, we have a problem with the Department of Planning and Zoning. Here, we have a situation where the leadership of the county has allowed the Department of Planning and Zoning to be controlled by a few people."


I would hope that County Executive Kittleman recognizes that ALL farmland needs to be protected from industrial mulching and composting, not simply the farmland that is in ag preserve. CB60 needs to be amended to prohibit NWWR and any food waste/animal mortality in compost on ALL farmland in Howard County. The farmland doesn’t know the difference. Industrial mulching/composting poses the same health risks to all, and the same safety risks to children waiting for school buses whether the land is in ag preserve or not. Let’s not forget the two young children struck and killed by a tractor-trailer full of mulch while trying to board their school bus just five months ago.


Please make every effort to attend the public hearing on Sept 11, again in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building. It will be a long night of testimony, but it is a certainty we don’t win without you to get major amendments included in CB60 to protect the health and welfare of your children and your families. Please spread the word to send more emails to Council Mail and to County Executive Kittleman. Also, please consider signing up to testify in opposition to CB60. Let’s show in force with a thousand voices standing together to oppose CB60. We finish strong, together.


With much appreciation for your continued support as we work hard to protect our families,


John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS


August 17, 2017


Hello Fellow Supporters,



First of all, thanks to an amazing support base for stepping up to support the cause to oppose CB60 on July 17!  


One of our goals was to ensure we showed up in numbers to force the vote intended for July 26 (to sneak this by us) to get tabled, and together the strong turnout did just that. In just three short weeks we were able to get over 100 emails sent to County Council Mail stating opposition to CB60, 50 to sign up to testify against the bill and once again pack the Banneker Room on July 17. Again, no way we win this one without a huge turnout from each of you for what continues forward in Sept, and the results from 2014 and on July 17 prove just that. But we can’t stop here.


The Public Hearing for CB60 will continue on Mon Sept 11 at 6:30pm back in the Banneker Room. We need more emails to hit the Council mailbox, more people to sign up to testify against CB60 and even more to show up for a night that will undoubtedly influence what amendments find their way into CB60. We had an amazing group of kids show up on June 29 for our first community meeting to highlight the major concerns and loopholes associated with CB60. If we could get some of those same young future leaders to sign up to testify on Sept 11, it would make for a very strong statement to our County Council.


Before the recap of events that unfolded at the County Council Public Hearing on July 17 where CB60 testimony began, let’s first clearly state what amendments we absolutely need to be a part of what is incorporated into this bill before it goes to a legislative vote so we protect the health and welfare of our families. To note, it is important going forward that all of your emails to County Council and your testimony include these amendments (repetition is the mother of invention):


  1. No Natural Wood Waste Recycling (NWWR) facilities on Rural Residential (RR) and Rural Conservation (RC) parcels; RC includes both Howard County and State of MD ag preserve farmland
  2. No food waste in compost produced exclusively to support farming activities for use only for/by/on the farm on all RR and RC parcels
  3. No commercial or retail sale of compost produced exclusively to support farming activities for use only for/by/on the farm on all RR and RC parcels
  4. No three axle or tractor-trailer trucks on/off the farm for compost produced exclusively to support farming activities for use only for/by/on the farm on all RR and RC parcels


For clarity to all, as we oppose the current zoning language in CB 60 given the many obvious loopholes it creates, our Amendment 1 by default absolutely prohibits the following on all RR and RC parcels:

  1. No commercial sale of mulch or compost product
  2. No three axle or tractor-trailer trucks on/off the farm with mulch or compost product
  3. No industrial grade tub grinders, normally used to support typical industrial mulching facilities
  4. No mulching on Howard County ag preserve or State of MD ag preserve farmland
  5. No retail sales of mulch or compost product onsite


Bottom line, what these amendments translate into for NWWR facilities is the reality that these operations belong on M1/M2 industrial zoned parcels and need to be covered to responsibly prevent mulch dust and endospores from airborne contamination to put nearby residential communities at risk for medical concerns.
Let’s recap the events that unfolded at the July 17 Public Hearing. To start off the testimony for CB60, DPZ went after our Recipe for Disaster in an attempt to discredit what we have stated are serious loopholes in CB60 that will allow for industrial mulching and industrial composting. Their argument was weak and only addressed a portion of our concerns over the zoning allowances in CB60. DPZ stated that on Howard County ag preserve farmland the mulching operation needed to be “accessory” to the primary farming operation. What this means is that the mulching operation needs to be subordinate to (less than) the primary activity on the farm. This translates into the ability to do 2 acres of mulching and 3 acres of composting (with food waste, animal carcasses and manure) for a total of five acres with essentially no restrictions and can be completely unrelated to the primary farming activity. There are ~60 Howard County ag preserve parcels of 100 acres or more.


Essentially what this means for Howard County ag farmland is that wood waste can be trucked in, processed industrially, and trucked out for commercial sale using tractor-trailer trucks in/out of the facility, with no restrictions on truck size or on amounts (i.e., endless/limitless scale in/out). Per our Recipe for Disaster, if 13.3 acres of trees are planted on a Howard County ag preserve parcel then 2 acres of mulching (15% of the total area of trees) can occur with no tie-in to any other activity on the farm, so long as it “accessory” to the main activity on the farm (Note: there appears to be no working definition for ‘tree farming’, so what constitutes “up to 15% of the area actively farmed in trees” is vague and uncertain). We define this as industrial mulching since limitless trucking in of wood waste for industrial processing then trucked out for commercial sale is allowed with no association to any other activity on the farm. This is one of several concerning loopholes that exist with CB60.


If one does the math, then all 60+ Howard County ag preserve parcel owners could have their primary farming activity occur on ~80+ acres, plant trees on 13+ acres and do 2 acres of industrial mulching plus 3 acres of industrial composting for 5 acres in total without restrictions. This does not account for the State of MD ag parcels throughout Howard County that are not even mentioned in CB60.


DPZ also questioned our comment that up to 40K tons could be processed annually when they state the correct amount is 24K tons. How can DPZ be confident to defend this number when they admit they cannot enforce pile height (i.e., the higher the mulch pile the more is processed and produced annually)? Even more concerning is the fact that it will be difficult to determine what is mulch and what is compost since both essentially come from the same process, therefore very difficult to enforce even if DPZ was capable and willing. This could translate into not just 2 acres of industrial mulch on Howard County ag parcels, but 5 acres instead. That is another way that the industrial mulch operator through CB60 can easily get to 40K tons processed annually on just “2 acres” on Howard County ag preserve farmland.


Bottom line, how will DPZ enforce what is accessory when it clearly has proven to be ineffective in enforcing CB20 against the clearest of violators (at one point the Bonner/Oak Ridge complaint was dismissed for lack of evidence to support a violation when residents had presented overwhelming evidence through photos to the contrary; it is not acceptable to place the burden of enforcement on the citizens of this county most affected by the violation)?


What DPZ conveniently failed to reference, which is the biggest loophole in CB60 and the greatest element of our Recipe for Disaster, is that CB60 allows for 5 acres of mulching plus 5 acres of composting (with food waste) on all RR and RC in Howard County, with absolutely no restrictions other than the need to go through a Conditional Use hearing, which will undoubtedly be approved if it adheres to what is allowed per zoning regulations in CB60 anyway. It is also important to note that RC also includes this 10 acres total allowance on State of MD ag preserve farmland that was somehow overlooked from being addressed in CB60. Expanding on the continuing concerns over lack of DPZ enforcement action noted above, it is even more frightening that on all RR and RC other than Howard County ag parcels there could be 10 total acres of mulching since hard to distinguish one processed wood pile from the other, rather than 5 acres each for mulching and composting. We ask our County Executive, DPZ and the Councilmembers that crafted this bill to explain to the many residential communities at risk for numerous well-documented health and safety concerns what part of this does not constitute industrial mulching and industrial composting.


If one does the math, then all numerous owners that have 100+ acres of RC farmland alone (150+ have at least 20 acres on RC) could have their primary farming activity occur on 100+ acres and do 5 acres of industrial mulching plus 5 acres of industrial composting (10% of the total acreage) without restrictions. This does not account for the State of MD ag parcels throughout Howard County that are not even mentioned in CB60, which could represent another 30+ parcels.


With this new and major concern for RR and RC throughout Howard County, our fight to prevent industrial operators from playing farmer in disguise only to exploit the ag preserve program to conduct industrial mulching for personal gain has now expanded to concerns over farmers that will now potentially conduct our definition of industrial mulching and/or composting as an additional means to generate revenue on the farm other than the existing farming activities.


Councilmember Fox pressed hard during my testimony on July 17 to ask how our DRPS submitted ZRA 160, which represented the views of the Concerned Citizens on the Mulch Task Force (dismissed out of hand by the Planning Board on May 25 in favor of ZRA 180 which is now CB60), differed from CB60. He stated that if we really had concerns over medical risks why we would allow even 1 acre of mulching when CB60 is essentially similar in allowing 2 acres of mulching. Here is why Councilmember Fox is off the mark and indirectly is downplaying any of the well-documented data-driven medical risks in allowing even 2 acres of mulching:


  1. As stated in response to Councilmember Fox’s challenge on July 17, our ZRA 160 allowed for 1 acre for only legitimate tree farmers to export mulch only if a part of the trees, shrubs or plants to be taken off of the farm, but did not allow for any commercial or retail sale of the mulch product. This amounts to our estimate of only a total of 3-4 acres throughout all of Howard County given the small amount of tree farmers located in the county. We would prefer 0 acres of mulching on ag preserve given health and safety concerns for even 1 acre of mulching, but we settled on 1 acre for only a few tree farmers in Howard County in the spirit of compromise.
  2. CB60 allows for 2 acres on any Howard County ag preserve parcel to be trucked out without association to any farming activity and no restrictions on commercial sale or truck size in/out of the farm. This equates to the potential for 2 acres of limitless processing on the many Howard County ag preserve parcels located throughout the county.
  3. What is important to note is that this is not only a comparison of 1 vs. 2 acres but 1 vs. 5 acres since three acres of composting can also occur on these same Howard County ag preserve parcels in addition to the 2 acres allowed for mulching. The medical risks for carcinogenic potential for wood dust also apply to compost that originates from wood waste. The medical risks for composting with food waste are even worse since it provides a breeding ground to result in increased microbial activity to raise the potential for groundwater contamination and increased exposure to microbes that can cause serious infection and disease.
  4. The new and also very serious concern on RR and RC is that it will expand the comparison from 1 vs. 2 acres to 1 vs. 10 acres (5 acres mulch + 5 acres compost) throughout many parcels of RC farmland alone throughout Howard County that are 100 acres or more (max of 10% of the farm size; NO restrictions)


We are making progress and our strategy is working. We would prefer to stick with CB20 and reject CB60 out of hand, but to what extent we get the right amendments incorporated into CB60 before the legislative vote is up to us. Great testimony, continuing to voice your opposition to CB60 given the many loopholes that put not just the rural communities but now also many residential communities throughout Howard County at risk, and a great turnout to pack the Banneker Room again on Sept 11 (this time with 1,000 adults and children) are key as to what level we succeed. Thanks to everyone for making the time to show in mass as one voice together on Sept 11 for a night hugely important to our success. With much appreciation,

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS

CB60 – A Recipe for Disaster


County Executive Kittleman, Council Member Fox and Council Member Sigaty as well as DPZ think CB60 will not allow for industrial mulching and/or industrial composting in RR, RC and Howard County ag preserve farmland. Think again. 

The “recipe for disaster” outlined here shows what is possible under the irresponsible zoning language in the proposed CB60.


Howard County Ag Preserve Farmland (ALPP)


Step 1:  Operator purchases or leases farmland.


Step 2:  Operator sets up a 3-acre “composting facility” for commercial shipment under a county permit (Section 128). CB60 contains no restriction on use of compost. 


Step 3:  Operator hires local farmer to plant 13.3 acres of trees so that he can apply for a Conditional Use (CU) to operate a “natural wood waste recycling facility” (NWWR) on 2 acres, fulfilling the condition in CB60 that the NWWR facility shall not exceed 15% of the area actively farmed in trees.


Step 4:  Once CU is approved, operator sets up a 5 acre facility for industrial mulching/NWWR and industrial composting combined. According to CB60, the NWWR facility is “accessory to the farm,” and therefore allows the operator to ship the mulch he produces without also shipping out any trees, shrubs, or plants grown on the farm. He can use 18-wheel tractor-trailers to continuously truck wood waste product onto the farm for processing, and continuously ship his mulch and/or compost product off the farm for commercial sale. His 5-acre facility will use at least 20 tractor-trailers each day to ship 40,000 tons of product each year, conservatively.

This allows the operators primary revenue generating activity to be industrial NWWR/compost on a limitless scale and not farm product, but that is OK according to CB60.

Rural Residential (RR), Rural Conservation (RC) and State of MD Ag Preserve Farmland (MALPF) as part of RC


Same as above, but instead of a 5-acre facility, the operator sets up a 10-acre NWWR/compost facility combined (5-acres of each through the CU process).


In RR, RC (includes State of MD ag preserve farmland) there are:
NO restrictions on amount of wood waste material trucked onto the farm
NO restrictions on the amount of mulch/compost trucked off the farm
NO limit on size of trucks
NO tie in for mulching/composting processing to any other activities on the farm/parcel
NO restrictions on commercial sale
NO way DPZ can enforce what will be allowed per CB60 (they can’t even enforce clear violators of CB20)
ALLOWS for retail sales on site

ALLOWS for Tier I and Tier II composting, which means on Howard County ag, RR and RC composting of grass, leaves, food waste, manure and in some case animal carcasses is allowed (3-5 acres near you).


In essence, an industrial processing facility with limitless trucking in/out at scale.


If this is County Executive Kittleman’s idea of good leadership, then we need new leadership. Councilmembers Sigaty and Fox, as well as DPZ’s Director Lazdins and Deputy Director Amy Gowan, also have their fingerprints on crafting CB60, so there is plenty of blame to go around for everyone in charge of your family’s health and safety in Howard County.


CB60 is blatantly irresponsible and reckless in terms of the risks it now puts on residents throughout all of Howard County. If you weren’t angry before this “recipe for disaster,” then hopefully you are now. The following steps will ensure we have a massive response with one unified voice to express our collective opposition to CB60:

1. Email to express your anger with CB60 and issue a call for major amendments. We have a letter ready for you on our DRPS website at to copy and paste as your email.

2. Sign up to testify on July 17 at through the weblink located across the top bar of the homepage that will take you to the ‘County Council’ page. From there you can navigate your way to registering and signing up to testify at the July 17 County Council session where we can voice our opposition to CB60 one-by-one (Banneker Room in the George Howard Building).

3. Encourage everyone you know within Howard County to show up in person on July 17 at 7pm so our County Council can see firsthand just how off the mark CB60 is.


Bottom line, CB60 does not get the job done to protect residents in the rural communities and beyond. Keep industrial mulching/composting facilities located in M1/M2 commercial zones, and make sure if they exist in those areas they are run properly to also keep nearby residents safe from any health risks (i.e., protection from mulch dust). Please stand with us as one unified voice of thousands to express your unwillingness to accept CB60 as is. Many thanks.

Call to ACTION from the President,

July 1, 2017

Dayton Rural Preservation Society,


Hello Preservers!


We request that EVERYONE send an email to the County Council over the next week to express your concern over CB-60 and call for amendments to protect the rural communities it will put at risk as it currently stands


Send an email to County Executive Kittleman at to voice your disappointment in CB60, which is unacceptable without major amendments. Send an email also to the five county council members:


Email councilmembers --,,,,


Urge your neighbors, friends, family and community to take action now to send emails to both the County Council and County Executive. Please include reference in emails to key amendments needed, noted below:


-- Compost/Mulch on RR/RC/All Ag

-- Limit shipment to that required for the farming product produced, i.e. shipment with trees, shrubs, plants

-- Limit truck size to small trucks (include definition) that must contain product from the farm

-- Restrict Industrial Shipment to M1/M2

-- Add restrictions on M1/M2 (covered facilities)

-- Add State Ag to County Ag – same rules

-- Ban these uses on cluster subdivision parcels

-- Stricter enforcement, larger fines that escalate as violations continue, and more aggressive enforcement for violation

-- Further define “Emergency NWWR”


NEXT STEP: If you are willing, we need you to sign up on July 5 to testify Mon July 17 at the first County Council meeting that will take place then (Banneker Room, George Howard Building). You can sign up to testify at by clicking on ‘Testify’ along the top bar. You will have up to 3 minutes (you do not need to use the entire time) at the County Council meeting on July 17 to tell the council why you think CB-60 is a bad idea for Howard County.


We are urging everyone to make plans to overflow the Banneker Room as a strong show of support for our opposition to CB-60 without major amendments. We need 1,000 people to be present on July 17. From that meeting to introduce the legislation and for those who signed up July 5 to testify, the County Council will hold another session to vote on the legislation two weeks later. That Council meeting (also in the Banneker Room) will take place on Mon July 31.


It is imperative we have an amazing, even astounding, turnout of 1,000 people also on July 31 to ensure the full County Council feels the weight of our strong opposition as they vote on this important zoning legislation.


County Executive Kittleman made a strong campaign promise back in 2014 when we gave him a platform to voice his position on the issue of industrial mulching. He publicly stated:

"In response to your inquiry regarding industrial mulching on agricultural farm land, I can unequivocally state that I am opposed. There have been three major public hearings on this issues: one at Dayton Oaks Elementary School, one in Sykesville and another at the Ten Oaks Ballroom with an estimated attendance of over five hundred, where I stated that I firmly opposed industrial mulching. As County Executive, I will actively continue my opposition.”


From the content of CB-60 that was presented by County Executive Kittleman, we are very disappointed that he has not even kept half of his campaign promise, at best. This new industrial mulch/composting legislation does NOT include any restrictions on State of MD (MALPF) ag preserve farmland. Essentially half of Howard County is State of MD ag, with the other half Howard County ag (ALPP). The county council, with Calvin Ball as Chair, introduced Amendment 5 to CB-20 which prohibits industrial mulching on MD ag farmland. We argued then, and again now, that not addressing both MD and Howard County ag farmland is tantamount to fencing only half of your yard and expecting that to prevent things from wandering in.


Beyond this huge oversight, which is intentional negligence in our opinion, there are loopholes in the current CB-60 that will allow industrial mulching and industrial composting to occur. We will talk more on June 29 and in the coming weeks about what amendments are absolutely needed to keep order to this industrial mulching issue. As it stands, industrial operators playing farmer in disguise will be able to purchase ag preserve on the cheap, only to move their industrial processes onto the farmland and into your communities, to present risks to families that we simply will NOT accept.


To quickly recap, please plan on taking action on these dates:

July 5, online. Sign up to testify at by clicking on ‘Testify’ along the top bar. You will have up to 3 minutes at the County Council meeting on July 17 to tell the council why you think CB-60 is a bad idea for Howard County.

July 17, 7pm. Attend County Council meeting at George Howard Building, Banneker Room, to show opposition for CB-60. We need 1,000+ people here.

July 31, 7pm. Attend County Council meeting at George Howard Building, Banneker Room, as County Council votes on CB-60. We need 1,000+ people here.



John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS

Letter from the President - June 25, 2017


Hello to all from within all four corners of Howard County that constitute our large support base. We thank each and every one of you for stepping up back in 2014 to stand by our side in numbers at several community and Howard County Council meetings as a show of our opposition to industrial mulching on ag preserve farmland in the County. Unfortunately, it is time to rally the troops, and quickly, for the next round of the fight that lies ahead for July. The small core team that has been representing your interests on this industrial mulching issue continuously since passage of favorable CB-20 has intentionally kept our supporters on the sideline to keep you ready to mobilize and spring into action if/when needed. That time is NOW. Definitely. We were happy with CB-20 then and are NOT happy now. Please read on.

For three long years we have been trying to hold down the fort for all we accomplished together with passage of CB-20 in June, 2014, through many Mulch Task Force and several meetings with County Executive Kittleman, the County Council, and the Director of Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ), Val Lazdins. We now find ourselves in a position to once again fight our way through another ZRA on industrial mulch/composting, this time in the form of ZRA 180, officially introduced as CB60-2017 on June 22 by DPZ on behalf of County Executive Kittleman. CB-60 as it currently reads presents many opportunities for industrial mulching to occur that will put rural families at risk for many safety and health concerns, and is therefore unacceptable to the rural communities throughout Howard County.

As a community, each and every one of us needs to make the necessary time to do our part for the cause. First up for a strong showing is the community meeting to be held this Thurs June 29 at Dayton Oaks Elementary School from 7-9pm in the cafeteria to provide an important update and call to action (press will be in attendance). We will walk through all that has transpired since 2014 and lay out what lies ahead over the next five weeks. At that meeting we will request that EVERYONE send an email to the County Council over the next week to express your concern over CB-60 and call for amendments to protect the rural communities it will put at risk as it currently stands (that Council email address is You can also access the Council email address directly through the website and navigating to the active link to ‘Email all Council Members’ through the ‘Contact Us’ tab across the top bar.

Next step will be, for everyone willing, to sign up on July 5 to testify Mon July 17 at the first County Council meeting that will take place then (Banneker Room, George Howard Building). You can sign up to testify at by clicking on ‘Testify’ along the top bar. You will have up to 3 minutes (you do not need to use the entire time) at the County Council meeting on July 17 to tell the council why you think CB-60 is a bad idea for Howard County.

We are requesting and urging everyone to make plans to overflow the Banneker Room as a strong show of support for our opposition to CB-60 without major amendments. We need 1,000 people to be present on July 17. From that meeting to introduce the legislation and for those who signed up July 5 to testify, the County Council will hold another session to vote on the legislation two weeks later. That Council meeting (also in the Banneker Room) will take place on Mon July 31. It is imperative we have an amazing, even astounding, turnout of 1,000 people also on July 31 to ensure the full County Council feels the weight of our strong opposition as they vote on this important zoning legislation.

County Executive Kittleman made a strong campaign promise back in 2014 when we gave him a platform to voice his position on the issue of industrial mulching. He publicly stated:

"In response to your inquiry regarding industrial mulching on agricultural farm land, I can unequivocally state that I am opposed. There have been three major public hearings on this issues: one at Dayton Oaks Elementary School, one in Sykesville and another at the Ten Oaks Ballroom with an estimated attendance of over five hundred, where I stated that I firmly opposed industrial mulching. As County Executive, I will actively continue my opposition.”

From the content of CB-60 that was presented by County Executive Kittleman, we are very disappointed that he has not even kept half of his campaign promise, at best. This new industrial mulch/composting legislation does NOT include any restrictions on State of MD (MALPF) ag preserve farmland. Essentially half of Howard County is State of MD ag, with the other half Howard County ag (ALPP). The county council, with Calvin Ball as Chair, introduced Amendment 5 to CB-20 which prohibits industrial mulching on MD ag farmland. We argued then, and again now, that not addressing both MD and Howard County ag farmland is tantamount to fencing only half of your yard and expecting that to prevent things from wandering in.

Beyond this huge oversight, which is intentional negligence in our opinion, there are loopholes in CB-60 as it currently exists that will allow industrial mulching and industrial composting to occur. We will talk more on June 29 and in the coming weeks about what amendments are absolutely needed to keep calm and order to this industrial mulching issue. As it stands now, industrial operators playing farmer in disguise will be able to purchase ag preserve on the cheap, only to move their industrial processes onto the farmland and into your communities, to present risks to families that we simply will NOT accept.

To quickly recap, please plan on taking action on these dates:

June 29, 7-9pm. Attend community meeting at Dayton Oaks Elementary School.
July 5, online. Sign up to testify at by clicking on ‘Testify’ along the top bar. You will have up to 3 minutes at the County Council meeting on July 17 to tell the council why you think CB-60 is a bad idea for Howard County.
July 17, 7pm. Attend County Council meeting at George Howard Building, Banneker Room, to show opposition for CB-60. We need 1,000+ people here.
July 31, 7pm. Attend County Council meeting at George Howard Building, Banneker Room, as County Council votes on CB-60. We need 1,000+ people here.

We will need to be more unified and more widespread in our opposition than ever before to achieve success again. Please spread the word to your family, friends and colleagues that live anywhere in Howard County, and not just the rural West, since this is truly a countywide issue. With appreciation for the sacrifices each of you will make over the next five weeks,

John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS


Dedicated Supporters,


Hope our DRPS support base is doing well and ready to mobilize again. That time is coming soon with two meetings where we absolutely need a strong showing from our supporters (detailed separately below). We have intentionally delayed an update to our followers while the Mulch Task Force (MTF) navigated its way through nine months of proceedings, now concluded after 24 weekly meetings that lasted 3 hours each, in order to arrive at a good stopping point to share with you where things stand from a high level. We will provide the important specifics/granularity when we hold our first community wide meeting for 2015, likely within the next two months.



Before providing the summary, let’s highlight the first all-important meeting that requires a strong DRPS presence, which follows here:

The time to again mobilize as a united DRPS is now upon us. One meeting already scheduled is the HCCA annual meeting that will take place on May 13 starting at 6:30pm and showcase County Executive Allan Kittleman in attendance to answer any questions of concern for our communities, both rural and residential. This includes our farmers, who we fully support and appreciate. We would be grateful if you could visit the HCCA website now through the weblink below to register for the event, as well as to mark it off on your calendars to ensure you will attend. HCCA will be providing free pizza for those in attendance, so Stu Kohn, President of HCCA, would like for those planning/able to attend to register online so he knows the headcount to place the right order.


Here you go: 


to register online (thank you!). There will be a sign-up sheet at the May 13 HCCA meeting for those who want to ask County Executive Kittleman any questions. 

Now to the background and high level summary for the MTF proceedings:

  1. June 2, 2014 we succeeded with a County Council vote of 4-0 to get CB-20 passed into legislation that prohibited industrial mulch/NWWR on both Howard County and State of MD ag preserve farmland; we remain vigilant to oppose these industrial facilities on any ag preserve farmland
  2. A resolution (Resolution No. 74-2014) was passed by our County Council calling for formation of a Mulch Task Force to more closely examine the needs of farmers regarding mulching and composting restrictions outlined in CB-20 and impact on true farming operations regarding sustainability
  3. We support the farming community for true farming operations and feel our recommendations outlined in the Concerned Citizens Report (attached) meet the needs of our farmers that reside in Howard County
  4. We stand firm in our evidence-based concerns over real health, safety and environmental risks that industrial mulching/NWWR and industrial composting pose on residents near to these large industrial operations
  5. We feel strongly that industrial mulch/NWWR and composting facilities should continue to be prohibited on any ag preserve farmland in Howard County given the associated health and safety risks to nearby communities
  6. Another Zoning Regulation Amendment (ZRA) will likely be developed based on the findings of the MTF, which will then be presented to the County Council for vote during a future legislative session; we will absolutely need your active support/attendance for this battle that, again, lies ahead (possibly early Fall 2015)

Attached here for your review is what is entitled the Concerned Citizens Report we crafted along with our experts and key DRPS core team members to present our recommendations resulting from the MTF meetings that began in July and ended with recent submission of these two reports to the County Council. To note, we pushed to ensure our experts were given the opportunity to present their findings at the appropriate time during the course of the MTF proceedings. Our report addresses the need to find ways to ensure farming is sustainable, but is completely opposed to industrial mulching/composting on ag preserve farmland.


A majority of the time spent by the MTF addressed the need for composting, following a matrix developed to guide us through our many meetings. This introduced another level of health concerns with the proposed industrial scale for composting (up to 10 acres; far in excess of what is needed to sustain any farmer for true farming operations in the County). Notably, animal mortality and food waste in composting was introduced, and with setbacks in proximity to residents, presenting significant opportunity for high bacterial and pathogen levels that could contaminate groundwater and result in disease/infections to undermine the health of families living nearby to these industrial operations. This, now in addition to our existing health and safety concerns for industrial mulching/NWWR operations, validates that where we ended up at the end of the MTF proceedings is potentially far worse than when we started.


To summarize, five individuals serving on the task force panel signed on in support of our Concerned Citizens Report for the entities/organizations we respectively represent. We became accustomed to being the minority on most MTF voting (typically 15-5 against us), however, we were diligent to deliver the same and very consistent evidence-based opposition message, regardless of the final vote count. While we were the minority on the panel itself, we clearly represent the majority when viewing this from the perspective of both the rural and residential community of voters we collectively represent throughout Howard County that opposes industrial mulching/NWWR on any ag preserve farmland. This type of operation is not agricultural nor a farming activity, but clearly an industrial process that is proposed for the benefit of only a few who are not farmers but industrial business operators interested in exploiting the ag preserve program for personal gain.



Those MTF panel members that supported the Concerned Citizens Report follow:

Rick Lober, representing the County Executive’s Office
John Tegeris, PhD, representing Dayton Rural Preservation Society (DRPS)
Stu Kohn, representing the Howard County Community Association (HCCA)
Ted Mariani, representing the Concerned Citizens for Western Howard County (CCWHC)
Brent Loveless, representing Howard County District 3



We encourage you to take time to read this final report (LINK BELOW), to be appended to the majority report that was also submitted to the Council (we are told both reports will be available through the Howard County website soon; up first is review by our County Council). What we hope is clear from the content is that we remained vigilant to stand by our position throughout the long, arduous proceedings to strongly oppose industrial mulching/NWWR and industrial composting on both Howard County and State of MD ag preserve farmland. This, based on well-documented health, safety and environmental concerns for our rural/residential communities, consistent with what we accomplished on June 2 with passage of CB-20 to prohibit same.



The second event that requires a strong DRPS turnout will be when the reports are formally presented to the County Council, as part of the process to come full circle since that time when the MTF was initially established for this purpose to inform them of our collective findings. Once we see this on the agenda for what will likely be a Mon evening legislative session, we will alert our followers. We are told that budget issues predominate the agenda and the reports could be before the County Council from the May to the June timeframe. Please stay tuned for this very important update when we learn more for the DRPS call to action.

It is important to DRPS leadership to maintain your trust, to believe that when we call on our supporters, you and your family will step up to attend these meetings given we feel a show in force is necessary to clearly message that we remain motivated and committed to the cause.

We greatly appreciate whatever sacrifices you and your family make to continue actively supporting this common cause for our communities, to protect what we accomplished together to date, as well as your continued support as ‘One Voice’ for what lies ahead. More to follow. With much appreciation,


John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS


VICTORY:  Woodbine's illegally operating industrial mulch facility was shut down Tuesday by the Howard County Hearing Examiner!

Council Bill 20-2014 was enforced!  We are giving thanks this Thanksgiving morning!



November 27, 2014



DRPS Supporters,


Congratulations go out to all of our rural communities in Howard County for the recent victory on Nov 25th. We had a strong turnout of about 80 supporters in attendance at the George Howard Building to be a respectful yet forceful presence at the case brought before the Hearing Examiner between Howard County/DPZ and Oak Ridge Farm in Woodbine. We are grateful that so many could take the time on a work-day and during this holiday week to attend this hearing on behalf of the communities we are working hard to represent.


The outstanding result of the hearing is that CB-20 was enforced upholding CB-20 which prohibits industrial mulch manufacturing on all ag preserve farmland in Howard County. This is precedent-setting and a tremendous outcome resulting from almost one year of the community working together with our Howard County government!



Oak Ridge Farm and the County entered into a Consent Order and placed it on the record before the Hearing Examiner. In it Oak Ridge Farm has admitted to the violation in the civil citation pertaining to mulch manufacturing and has agreed to pay a $1,000 fine for the violation. Oak Ridge Farm has also agreed to cease all mulch manufacturing operations, including importing, grinding, or exporting feedstock, until such time as the zoning regulations are changed, if they are changed.


We, of course, continue to work diligently on the Mulch Task Force against difficult odds to keep CB-20 and the current zoning regulations in place while trying to strike the right balance to advocate for the needs of true farming operations. The issues are complex, but we remain vigilant to put forth our evidence-based recommendations through what is likely to be a minority report. This serves as a reminder that the fight continues, and the likelihood exists that the community will once again need to show numbers in support of keeping the legislative intent of CB-20 no matter what the Mulch Task Force majority report recommends.


Special thanks to our County Executive, County Council, Hearing Examiner, DPZ and the County Solicitor's Office for the collective work to arrive at this favorable point for the rural communities to protect our health and safety. We are grateful for their efforts and also for the support of so many throughout Howard County that stand by our side. Our work continues starting again next week at the Dec 2nd task force meeting.


Until our next update, wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and a good start to the holiday season. With much appreciation,



John Tegeris, PhD

President, DRPS

Thank you for filling up this room to show Howard County we care about this decision!

November 20, 2014 - It's time to shutdown the illegally operating Woodbine industrial mulch facility!


Hello to our DRPS Supporters,

It was a real pleasure to see so many from our support based at Dayton Oaks throughout election day. The heartfelt thanks conveyed for our efforts to protect our rural communities from the health and safety risks of industrial mulch manufacturing is greatly appreciated. As sincerely stated to everyone then, what we accomplished with passage of CB-20 to prohibit industrial mulch/composting facilities from operating on ag preserve farmland throughout Howard County could NOT have been achieved without each of you taking ownership to play a big part in attending all of the important meetings and legislative sessions with the County Council.


We want to take this opportunity to congratulate Allan Kittleman for winning the election to serve as Howard County’s new County Executive. We have complete trust and faith that, together with our County Council, he will make our great county even stronger while keeping our communities safe. We also want to extend congratulations to Council Chair Dr. Calvin Ball, Council Members Greg Fox, Mary Kay Sigaty, Jen Terrasa and newly elected Jon Weinstein for their respective wins to serve on our next County Council. We look forward to working together on not only our issue but on other matters of importance to managing sensible growth for Howard County. We also want to extend our sincere gratitude to Ken Ulman and Courtney Watson for the all-important, active role each played in CB20 to not only keep industrial mulch manufacturing business owners from operating on ag preserve farmland, but for active enforcement action through DPZ to move forward to shutdown illegally operating mulch manufacturing facilities also on ag preserve farmland.


In fact, that movement forward to shut down illegally operating mulch manufacturing continues next Tues, Nov 25th, AND WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT. On Tuesday, Nov 25, the County will present its case before the Hearing Examiner for enforcement action against Oak Ridge Farm, LLC industrial mulch manufacturing operation located in Howard County. This facility currently exists on State of MD ag preserve farmland in Woodbine, Howard County, and is owned by Erich Bonner and John Hughes. A large turnout from the community will send a strong signal that we remain organized and committed to keeping facilities that pose unacceptable health, safety and environmental risks permanently off of ALL ag preserve farmland. The hearing will begin at 9:30am in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building in Ellicott City. I know it’s a work-day…and I also know that this hearing represents a precedent-setting event for our rural communities. We won’t be providing testimony, but we have to make sure our voice is heard loud and clear with our presence.


Please understand that this case being heard is not just about Woodbine – this is about MD ag preserve farmland, which also surrounds us here in Dayton and throughout Western Howard County. We need to let everyone know that just because you relocate your industrial mulch manufacturing operation onto farmland, that doesn’t suddenly make it farming. Thank you for making time to be at the George Howard Building with us at 9:30am on the 25th.


And just to give you a little background on what we’re up against, and what we have to continually stand guard against, here is a brief timeline of events relating to Oak Ridge Farm and Recycled Green Industries, with both companies sharing the same owners:


  1. March 1, 2012:  Oak Ridge Farm, LLC was issued a Violation to Deed of Easement from the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MD Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation/MALPF), stating: “In summary, we viewed the mulch processing operation that was being conducted on the farm. MALPF guideline for uses of the land other than normal agricultural practices has a section that addresses mulch operations. One condition that is required for approval is that ‘Majority of the products must be produced on site…’ Based upon your representation, all of the product comes from outside sources and is trucked onto the farm for processing…your deed of easement states that the grantor relinquishes ‘The right to develop or subdivide the above described land for industrial, commercial, or residential use…From the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation’s perspective, your operation is commercial and is a violation of the Deed of Easement. We, therefore, require that you correct the violation immediately by removing the mulch pile from the property.”


  • March 5, 2013:  Recycled Green Industries was issued violations from the Maryland Department of the Environment related to their composting facility operating in Woodbine/Carroll County on industrial zoned property. As stated in the Maryland Office of the Attorney General Environmental Audit Report – 2013: “From June through December of 2011, Recycled Green Industries accumulated food scraps and yard waste at its composting facility in Woodbine without controls in place to screen out inorganic refuse or to prevent pollution of ground and surface water, and without the required refuse disposal and discharge permits. MDE documented discharges of wastewater containing elevated levels of nutrients and bacteria from the facility…On March 5, 2013, MDE and Recycled Green entered into a settlement agreement and consent order to resolve violations of solid waste management, sediment pollution, and water pollution control.  Under the consent order, the company agreed to perform a nature and extent of contamination study to determine the extent of groundwater and/or surface water pollution from its composting facilities…In addition, Recycled Green agreed to pay civil penalties of $50,000; an additional penalty of $25,000 was held in abeyance pending completion of the required corrective action.” Recycled Green no longer processes food scraps as part of the composting operation at the Woodbine/Carroll County industrial facility. 



  • Fall/Winter 2013:  Residents of Woodbine submitted 17 complaints in Nov/Dec 2013 (one in Mar 2014) relating to health/other issues stemming from the illegally operating Oak Ridge Farm industrial mulch facility, requesting that DPZ conduct a zoning inspection of Oak Ridge Farm. 


  • Dec 17, 2013:  DPZ inspected the Oak Ridge Farm property and issued a violation notice stating that “The following violations of the Howard County Zoning Regulations were noted and a violation notice issued for: The operation of a mulch manufacturing, soil processing and compro processing business on a RC (Rural Conservation) zoned property, and, Storage of two refuse/recycling shipping containers on a RC (Rural Conservation) zoned property.


  • Feb 10, 2014: DPZ issued civil citations for the above-mentioned violations since there was no attempt to rectify them.


  • Sept 15, 2014: DPZ sent a notice to Oak Ridge Farm that said: “This is a reminder notice of the zoning violations cited in the civil citations issued to you on February 10, 2014.” The notice went further to state that, “The Conditional Use petition you submitted on April 4, 2014 (BA-14-12C) for Bulk Firewood Processing and Mulch Manufacture under section 131.N.46 cannot be used to approve mulch manufacturing or soil processing since these uses are no longer allowed on Agricultural Land Preservation Easement properties with the passing of Council Bill CB20-2014, and therefore, will not abate the violations. If the violations are not corrected by September 30, 2014, the County will refer the outstanding civil citations to the Hearing Examiner for further enforcement.” [Emphasis mine] Hence, action was taken by Ken Ulman, DPZ and the County Council in Oct to bring this case before the Hearing Examiner on Nov 25.


  • 9:30 am, Nov 25, 2014:  (FUTURE EVENT) Concerned citizens must crowd the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building in Ellicott City to ensure that big business interests are not allowed to exploit low cost ag preserve farmland for personal gain at the expense of the health, safety and quality of life of the rural communities that would surround these types of industrial facilities.


Again, please join us on Nov 25 so that your presence can be seen with a large turnout to support the actions DPZ and Ken Ulman have taken together with our County Council for bringing Oak Ridge Farm’s violations before the Hearing Examiner for shutdown enforcement for the current industrial mulch manufacturing operation.


The next Note from the President will highlight the ongoing battle of the Mulch Task Force, as those committed to protecting your collective interests are holding a hard line, but are in the minority to impose limits that keep industrial mulch manufacturing/composting off the rural farmland for other than smaller scale needs of true farming operations. Just to keep you engaged and concerned, the task force majority recently proposed to allow composting that contains animal mortality/waste located only 50 feet from the nearest dwelling, and up to 5 acres in size with only an administrative permit (not a Conditional Use permit) required. This is all new ground in terms of regulations, and while we do support these activities for farming operations and sustainability, it is yet another area of concern regarding health and safety issues. Discussions have been both long and extremely complex with residents’ groups in the vast minority.  Stay tuned and committed, DRPS supporters.


See you Nov 25. Many thanks.



John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS              



DRPS Following,


Hope our support base is doing well. Exciting times lie just around the corner with the upcoming elections on Nov 4. Many have responded since the last Note from the President on Oct 4 to inquire as to which candidates support our unified position to oppose industrial mulch manufacturing (NWWR) operations on ag preserve farmland.


This provides the timely opportunity to share responses on our very important election issue from the two candidates vying for County Executive in Howard County. Both Senator Allan Kittleman and Council Member Courtney Watson responded to a question posed by a supporter of DRPS who asked for both candidates to weigh in on where they stood on pledging continued support to keep industrial mulch manufacturing permanently off ag preserve farmland. Above are screenshots of the question and the exact responses supplied by Senator Kittleman and Council Member Watson.


Two other rolling updates for issues central to our opposition movement that continue to evolve:


1) Since the last Note, several developments have taken place regarding DPZ shutdown enforcement action of the Oak Ridge industrial )mulch manufacturing facility that continues to operate illegally in Woodbine/Howard County on MD ag preserve farmland. The two week period given to Oak Ridge to cease current industrial mulching operations elapsed on Sept 30 with no voluntary shutdown (DPZ letter dated Sept 15). As most are aware, the CB20 Bill now in effect does not allow industrial mulch manufacturing/NWWR facilities to operate on MD or Howard County ag preserve farmland. County Executive Ken Ulman took the necessary and appropriate action to instruct DPZ to request that the case against Oak Ridge Farm be brought before the Hearing Examiner for enforcement shutdown. Given the Hearing Examiner reports to the County Council, the Council made the request and the hearing will occur on Nov 25 at 9:30am back in the Banneker Room in the George Howard Building/Ellicott City. The hearing is between DPZ and Oak Ridge Farm but is open for others interested in observing what unfolds to attend in person. We are expecting another large turnout given that this issue is important to our ongoing opposition movement. More details to follow after the elections.


2) We continue to make little progress with what are now weekly Mulch Task Force meetings. We remain outnumbered but very vocal to protect what we accomplished together with the June 2 vote that resulted in passage of CB20 unanimously by our County Council. Anything under discussion that attempts to revisit permitting industrial NWWR facilities to operate on any ag preserve farmland in Howard County is unacceptable. It is not open for negotiation. Period. What we do hope to accomplish in the last three task force meetings leading up to our report to the County Council due Nov 15 is recommendations that give the farming community appropriate language that allows mulch/composting but only on a smaller scale and only that supports true farming operations on the farm/by the farm/for the farm. We also believe, assuming Howard County has an interest for expanding NWWR within the county (we don’t believe this is necessary or justified), that a recommendation is set forth that calls for leadership to take up this initiative with plans to address this within industrial M1/M2 zoned land set aside for this very purpose.


Finally, we remain committed to serving the interests of all of our supporters that continue to strongly oppose NWWR facilities on any ag preserve farmland in our rural communities. Please make sure to cast your vote on election day! More to follow soon. Thanks for your continued support, as always.


John Tegeris, PhD
President, DRPS



DRPS Supporters,


My sincere apologies that it has been so long since our last letter keeping you posted on the situation regarding our strong and united opposition to industrial mulch manufacturing on ag preserve farmland throughout Howard County. It has been a summer of mixed results, both good and concerning for our movement.


Let’s start with the highlights. The Council Bill 20 (CB20) approved on June 2, 2014 with the unanimous vote by our County Council, and signed into action by County Executive Ulman, went into effect on August 4, 2014. Again, this would not have been possible without the community’s support and contributions, and our County Council’s bold decision to take corrective action. This now translates into no industrial mulch operations being allowed to operate on either Howard County or State of MD ag preserve farmland.


Based on the legislative intent and zoning language of amendments incorporated into the approved CB20 Bill, DRPS and affected neighbors pursued necessary DPZ enforcement action after August 4 to ensure the Woodbine/Oak Ridge industrial mulch manufacturing facility, located on MD ag preserve, ceased operations. The County Executive’s office issued a letter in mid-September instructing DPZ to finally take shutdown enforcement action against the Woodbine/Oak Ridge operation. Per discussion with the County Executive’s office, the basis for the shutdown enforcement action is that “the conditional use process is no longer a viable path forward for industrial mulch manufacturing facilities operating on any ag preserve farmland in Howard County.” The letter gave the Woodbine/Oak Ridge facility a two-week period in which to stop its operations. As of October 1, the Woodbine/Oak Ridge industrial mulch facility appears to have ceased operations. DRPS has requested a copy of the DPZ enforcement letter and is awaiting a response from County officials. If not in hand soon, a formal PIA request will be made to DPZ to obtain the shutdown enforcement letter per our understanding that the case is now closed given that the two week period has elapsed.


Tempering our enthusiasm over that apparent victory, however, we have recently learned that last week, in direct conflict with the DPZ shutdown enforcement letter, MDE granted a Natural Wood Waste Recycling (NWWR) permit to Woodbine/Oak Ridge.  Because current Howard County zoning regulations do not allow its operation on MD ag preserve, this facility cannot operate with its MDE permit and we believe there were deficiencies in the permitting process that can be and will be challenged.


In the coming days, through our attorney, we will formally contest MDE’s decision to issue the NWWR permit. As part of the task force, DRPS is working to recommend that a system be put in place to ensure that MDE and Howard County are better aligned on the issues/rules in order to eliminate the inconsistencies clearly in play for the Woodbine/Oak Ridge industrial mulch facility.


As part of the passage of CB 20, a task force was formed to study composting and mulching and recommend measures that would help ensure our local farmers’ needs were being met.  DRPS was encouraged by this development and hoped it would be an opportunity to sit down with our local farming community and better understand the issues they face with regard to these zoning laws.  

The task force is comprised of 19 panel members, collectively representing the interests of farmers, residents, business owners and other entities within the county. DRPS has a seat on the panel along with Rick Lober, who was specially appointed to the task force by the County Executive’s office. The task force has met on a bi-weekly basis July through August, and as of September, we are meeting every week. The stated purpose of the task force is to put forth recommendations to the County Council to tweak the language of CB20 in order to ensure that true farming operations remain supported. Honestly, we have made little progress. Meetings have been contentious from the start. Several DRPS members and supporters, including local farmers and myself, have attended and debated the opposition at the meetings. Those of us committed to protecting the progress we have made with CB20 are, however, seemingly outnumbered on the task force.


Despite our repeated efforts to craft recommendations to push up to our County Council that support farmer mulching/composting to ensure the sustainability of true farming operations, we have made little progress. Those that oppose us on the task force appear to be working for a complete reversal of what was accomplished with the June 2 vote in order to allow unlimited NWWR on ag preserve farmland. DRPS has been vocal at every meeting, committed to continuing opposition of industrial mulch manufacturing on ag preserve farmland throughout Howard County.


We have fought to ensure our evidence-based position is articulated to the task force. As such, we have pushed for and been given the opportunity to bring in experts to speak to concerns over (1) groundwater contamination, (2) mulch fires, (3) traffic concerns for safety and road integrity (tractor trailer/3-axle dump trucks) and (4) health/medical consequences (slated for Oct 7).

It is abundantly clear that if Howard County wants to allow NWWR facilities within our county, it must create such opportunities intentionally and strategically in M1 industrial zoned areas within the county. If Howard County continues to promote conversion of industrial zoned tracks of land for residential growth, the solution is NOT to locate NWWR facilities on rural farmland but, rather, to process wood waste outside Howard County if it cannot support such growth within the confines of M1 zoned property currently located in our county.


We are hopeful that our persistence, and the facts we have presented, will allow us to make progress during this final month before the task force report is due to the Council on Nov 15. We will also ensure that both a majority report (likely not in our favor) and a minority report (to represent the viewpoint of the communities we represent) are pushed up to the County Council so that both sets of recommendations are under consideration when the Council reviews the respective reports.

We will keep our support base closely apprised of our progress going forward. We urge our followers to choose wisely during the elections, and to vote for those candidates who have clearly supported our efforts to oppose industrial mulch manufacturing on ag preserve farmland throughout every corner of Howard County. We also call on our supporters to be prepared for more challenges that may lie ahead.


While unfortunate that the June 2 vote did not signal an official end to the fight, we remain vigilant and committed to maintaining the protection afforded our rural communities with the passage of CB20, and we hope that the community will again be ready and willing to stand up to oppose efforts to expand industrial operations into our communities. We will not stop working to protect what we have accomplished together over this 6+ month journey. Thank you for trusting us to be good stewards, continuing to protect your interests. More to follow.


John Tegeris, PhD
President, Dayton Rural Preservation Society

SHARE with neighbors, friends, coworkers, community groups, etc...

DONATE to DRPS to help us keep industrial mulch/compost/topsoil facilities off of agricultural preservation farmland!


Fellow Supporters,


Heartfelt thanks to each of you for playing the most important role in our recent success with the 4-0 vote to eliminate industrial mulch manufacturing on both Howard County/ALPP and State of MD/MALPF ag preserve farmland throughout our county. This is a huge win for Howard County, especially in our rural communities, to ensure health and safety for all of our residents.


To our support base and our county leadership, heartfelt gratitude from your team at DRPS for all that we have accomplished together in only four months. The result is simply amazing and credit goes to each and every one of you.


Specifically, we owe a big thank you to our five County Council members, our County Executive, and their amazing staff persons, for tirelessly working their way through a complex issue and for their leadership to arrive at a meaningful solution that protects us all.


The high road chosen by every one of you reaffirms our belief that, done the right way working together, we can trust the process and our Council to do what is best for our communities. We simply could not have accomplished what we did without each of you making time to attend all of the important community meetings, County Council hearings and most recently the Council Legislative Session. Thank you for believing in our approach, "One Thousand People as One Voice," to build our case with total professionalism and passion.


Now on to the official good news. We learned late yesterday from Ginnie Gick in Ken Ulman's office, that our County Executive just signed Council Bill CB-20 into law, which will go into effect 60 days from signing. This bill prevents industrial mulching from being placed on farms that are part of the Howard County or State of Maryland Agricultural Preservation Program. We believe this represents the bigger win for our rural communities given that the business incentives most attractive to mulch manufacturing/composting facility owners of low cost farmland (no development rights) and low property taxes that exist primarily in ag preserve are no longer in play. As such, the barriers to entry for these industrial business owners to locate/relocate their industrial mulch/composting operations onto farmland in our county are much higher.


That said, consistent with the zoning regulations that existed prior to Comprehensive Zoning (July 2013), the current bill still allows mulching and composting operations of unlimited size on farms not in ag preserve but, rather, in Rural Residential (RR) and Rural Conservation (RC) zones. To note, however, one of the amendments to the bill just signed into action is the requirement that facilities in RR and RC first obtain a permit from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) before they can take next steps in the process for approval. This would next include a Conditional Use Hearing that is also required to establish mulching or composting operations on RR and RC, which must go before the Hearing Examiner to obtain pre-approval to proceed. Finally, the bill appropriately allows for these type of industrial processes in areas zoned commercial or industrial, in M1 where they belong, and made provisions to allow farmers their rights to true farming processes, something we at DRPS strongly advocate for and will continue to support going forward.


Also on June 2, a resolution was put forth to form a 19 person task force composed of several groups, including DRPS, farmers, county experts and businessmen, to further discuss zoning laws needed to both protect residents and allow farmers the right to processes needed for carrying out normal farming operations. The task force will also make recommendations on where industrial mulch/composting facilities should be placed.


A seat on this task force will allow DRPS to represent our rural communities in the discussions and allow for full transparency to report back to our supporters, in real time, what is under consideration. DRPS believes this task force will be a positive step in creating win:win relationships among residents and farmers.


One effort still in process is the commitment by our County Council to shut down any illegal mulch manufacturing/NWWR facilities that have been cited and are currently still in operation. It is our understanding that our Council is working with our County Executive's office this week to encourage DPZ to take the necessary action right now in order to further protect residents that have been adversely impacted by such operations. We appreciate this follow through on the part of concerned leadership within Howard County, as it is important unfinished business for DRPS and its supporters that must continue until enforcement action is taken to protect the people affected.


Finally, we are pleased to inform our followers that DRPS will continue as a formal organization, going forward through the task force process and beyond. We will continue to work with you, our collective communities together as "One Voice," to better understand both the needs of residents near working farms and the needs of our farmers/neighbors, while pushing hard to keep industrial uses off of farms placed in Agricultural Preserve or very near residences. The zoning laws for Howard County are extremely complex. Rest assured that DRPS will continue to monitor the overall situation within our county to keep our rural communities informed of any changes.


We will press ahead to represent you and your families to the best of our ability and in a highly professional manner, consistent with the spirit of DRPS and how we have operated since our inception. Much appreciation to all for your relentless support and many contributions, both with respect to time, donations, exchanging of ideas and, most of all, your belief that together we could beat overwhelming odds to achieve great results for the welfare of our communities.




President, DRPS


CB 20 Doesn't Undermine Farmers' Rights:


Fellow Supporters,

Now that things have slowed down enough for us to catch our collective breath, there are a couple of thoughts to clarify.

DRPS has noticed a number of signs have been placed throughout the community that suggest County Executive Ken Ulman has “turned his back on the farmers”.  Some might assume that the signs relate to our “no industrial mulch manufacturing/composting on ag preserve” cause.  That is not our understanding. 

What County Executive Ulman has supported, both in issuing his statement on April 28, and in his recent signing of Council Bill 20-2014 ("CB-20"), in no way undermines the rights of farmers. What he supported was keeping industrial processes, like the one we oppose, off of our rural farmland. CB-20 protects ag preserve farmland as it was protected before last year’s Comprehensive Zoning changes.

In a nutshell, CB-20 ensures that farmland remains preserved, that farmers’ rights remain intact and that farming and residential communities remain free of health and safety risks from industrial facilities.

At no time has this push to prevent the unintended consequences of Comprehensive Zoning been aimed at denying farmers the right to their livelihood. All along, the goal has been to prevent the mulch manufacturing/composting industry from changing our Howard County farmland setting into an industrial setting. This issue is not political in nature, and did not require anyone to choose political sides in order to resolve it.

Part of the legacy of County Executive Ulman's 8-year leadership is a county that continues to see strong growth while remaining one-third farmland, including 21,000 acres in ag preserve.

We applaud our County Executive and County Council, as well as our amazing supporters who have handled themselves with total professionalism. We look forward to being a part of the task force to ensure the continuing success and sustainability of our farming and residential communities.

With much appreciation,

John Tegeris
President, Dayton Rural Preservation Society


Fellow Supporters,

Heartfelt thanks to everyone from all reaches of our County that made it out for the May 19 County Council Hearing where we had the opportunity to present our case to oppose industrial mulch manufacturing/composting on rural farmland in Howard County. Your solidarity and show of support as “One Voice” was both remarkable and inspirational. We took great pride in standing by your side to present the facts and our position to an attentive County Council. We also greatly appreciate the professional manner that everyone has shown during this entire process.

We can’t fully convey just how privileged DRPS is to represent all of you in our efforts to keep industrial Natural Woodwaste Recycling (NWWR) off rural farmland throughout Howard County given the many unacceptable and well documented health, safety and environmental risks that now put us in harms way. This situation has materialized thanks to “unintended consequences” resulting from Comprehensive Zoning where all too convenient and seemingly innocuous changes to the definition of farming were slipped in at the 11th hour. That said, we will continue to push forward for amendments to result in the necessary change.

My apologies for taking a few days longer than anticipated to send out this update. It has been a very busy week engaged in smaller meetings and several one-on-one follow up calls with Council Members. We are proactively managing the path forward to get to our outcome, building on the momentum we created together on May 19. There have been a few twists and turns since the latter part of last week that have now settled out to allow us to convey the following information to you:

  1. The work session originally planned for May 27 starting at 4pm was cancelled due to scheduling conflicts with our Council Members who attend all high school graduations in their respective districts. The work session was intended for our County Council to discuss our issue in a public meeting (listen only mode for those in attendance unless called upon) to work through any challenges before the Council vote planned for June
  2. We were appreciative of the opportunity to meet with Greg Fox for over three hours on Mon May 26 to fully review the pre-Comprehensive Zoning regs vs. the current zoning regs and to work through what amendments need to be incorporated in the new document going forward. During this time we learned that the need to hold a work session is unlikely since it now appears clear that the Council will vote on going back to the older zoning regulations that existed prior to Comprehensive Zoning. This would effectively result in small operations that would benefit the farmers with true mulch/compost needs to support their respective farming activities but NOT allow for large industrial facilities to operate.
  3. Amendments are due by 2pm this Thurs May 29 to allow their introduction in time to be put to Council vote during the County Council Hearing on June 2.
  4. It is anticipated that the Council will vote on our issue on June 2. That said, we heard from the Council last week there is a slight possibility they will hold a special session shortly after June 2 and before June 24 to deal with the more challenging issues that will require extra focus, which would likely include ours. This must absolutely occur by June 24 given the primaries held that day would signal that all issues would be tabled until after the election, something we absolutely do not want to happen. Please stay tuned for further announcements through DRPS social media outreach to our supporters once we learn more (yes, one final round of fliers certainly to follow!).
  5. It is anticipated that a Task Force will be formed after the June primaries which will likely include DRPS representation seated at the table. In the subsequent months to follow, this Task Force will dig deeper into the zoning regulations to make the finer changes necessary given some of the inconsistencies that exist in the zoning language, to continually improve on the zoning guidelines and further streamline the zoning process. This will continue to evolve beyond the November elections.
  6. The Environmental Sustainability Board (ESB) recently issued its findings from review of our issue at the ESB meeting held on May 8. Although the May 23 report released by the ESB did not definitively conclude in favor of our well-documented risks to our rural communities, it did state that more work needs to be done to answer many questions to fully evaluate the effects on our rural communities. This due diligence is necessary to fully evaluate the impact of industrial NWWR facilities to operate on our rural farmlands where well/septic prevails, our groundwater is our drinking water and no public water supply exists to help contain large scale mulch fires. This is not a bad outcome given that, although DRPS attended the meeting with several experts prepared to speak on behalf of your concerns, DPZ Director Marsha McLaughlin, along with her Howard County engineer presented to and led discussions with only members of the ESB for ~1 hour 50 minutes of the 2 hour meeting. DRPS was surprised to receive only ~5 minutes at the end of the meeting to state its case. Even with such a short amount of time to present expert testimony, it is clear what little we were able to convey to the members was sufficient to create reasonable doubt for the ESB, reflected in their report calling for further evaluation. In the end, it is likely that not enough hard conclusions are drawn in the report to influence the Council vote one way or the other, effectively neutralizing out the ESB findings.

Sincere thanks for trusting both DRPS and the County Council to ultimately put forth needed amendments to the current zoning regulations to keep industrial NWWR off rural farmland in Howard County. Please stay closely tuned to updates later this week to inform you of whether June 2 is truly the date the Council will vote on our issue. We will follow up with more fliers urging our supporters to fill the Banneker Room once again to witness our Council make historic change, change that you made happen. Bring your pins, bring your full family and bring your positive energy! Make plans to celebrate a huge win for our community! Together with our County Council, we will make this right to protect all of our rural communities in Howard County who will once again show up as “One Voice” to call for the needed change. We will leave no stone unturned to make this happen. Thanks to all!

President, Dayton Rural Preservation Society


Fellow Supporters,


It is truly amazing to see the level of continued support that has shown just how united we are to oppose industrial mulch manufacturing/composting on our rural farmlands. We are thankful for each and every one of you. Well over 500 people showed for our Apr 28 community meeting. We are grateful that so many supporters made time to attend. It is clear to anyone following this issue that we are united and gaining momentum. Your voice, our voice, is being heard. Your presence alone is testament to that fact.


And here’s how we know: A statement issued on Apr 28 by County Executive Ken Ulman supporting the current bill introduced by Greg Fox and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Watson and Sigaty, AND promising to take it a step further and make amendments that apply the one acre cap in RC as well as in ag preserve. We are on the right track and making progress, together.  However, as Councilman Greg Fox stated, we need to keep pushing until the end because anything can change!


WATCH video of Ginnie Gick reading statement from Ken Ulman, Howard County Executive:


We will send a clear message once again on May 19 at the County Council Hearing as we all stand together to support our case that industrial mulch manufacturing/composting be kept off our farmland, anywhere in rural Howard County. With all of us there together, our Council Members will hear loud and clear that this is what YOU want. We will pack the room and spill out into the lobby area where the hearing will be televised. Rest assured we will hear all of you no matter where you stand in the George Howard Building. Know that we need you. We will be “One Thousand People as One Voice.”


RSVP to May 19th Council Hearing:


To note, DRPS and our supporters will not be the only ones in attendance. The industrial business interests and others that oppose our efforts will also be there in full force. Please make every effort to attend with your family and to arrive early, before the 6:30pm start.


Let’s run through what has essentially transpired in the two weeks since our strong turnout at the Apr 28 community meeting, in continuing our effort to represent communities from all four corners of Howard County:

  1. We met with Chair, Dr. Calvin Ball and Councilmember Mary Kay Sigaty on May 5 to make our case. It was another productive and progressive meeting where we discussed much of the information in higher level form that we presented on Apr 28, including the key videos.
  2. DRPS received the full support of the Sierra Club, Maryland Chapter regarding our mission to oppose industrial mulch manufacturing and composting facilities on our rural farmland. We presented our cause and environmental concerns to the local chapter prior to the Apr 28 community meeting and received their official support shortly thereafter.
  3. We presented at the Environmental Sustainability Board meeting on May 8, which was attended by DPZ Director, Marsha McLaughin. Although we didn’t get much time to present, what we did convey to the Board was the environmental risks and inevitable impact, which included major concerns for groundwater contamination/heavy metals, mulch fires/inadequate water supply given no public water/hydrants, carcinogenic mulch dust/mulch spores/respiratory illnesses, heavy 18-wheeler truck traffic/equipment, noxious odor/high decibel noise…the list goes on. We believe our team of experts at the table told a compelling story to create unavoidable concerns that the Board must carefully consider. We succeeded as a team to accurately create ‘reasonable doubt.’ That report is due out on May 23, before the County Council convenes again to vote on our issue on June 2. We need you back at the George Howard Building then to witness the vote by our Council to amend the zoning regs!
  4. We attended a meeting organized/mediated by Councilmembers Fox and Sigaty held on May 10 between farmers with legitimate farming concerns, Bob Orndorff/Erick Bonner who run industrial mulch manufacturing facilities, DRPS leadership and legitimate farmers who oppose industrial mulch operations on our rural farmland. Both parties expressed their respective concerns and stated their positions. We walked away from the farmers meeting where we started (support true farming, oppose true industrial processes on our rural farmland). Councilmember Fox did make a suggestion that we need to consider a return to the old zoning regs that existed prior to Comprehensive Zoning that took place in July 2013.
  5. We met with Councilmember Terrasa on May 14 to convey our concerns, provide the facts and to state our current position to oppose these industrial mulch/composting facilities. We had an informative and productive meeting to openly discuss the path forward.


We remain determined and committed to bring about amendments to the current zoning regs that preserve the well-being of our rural communities, both its people and the environment in which we live. Here is where we continue to stand. We are fully supportive of legitimate farming operations and believe the zoning regs, both old and new, allow a farmer to mulch/compost on the farm if product either originates from, or is to be used on, the farm itself. What we continue to strongly oppose is endless trucking in of natural woodwaste for industrial processing to truck back out for commercial sale. This cannot happen. This is clearly not farming. It is industry, pure and simple.  These types of industrial facilities pose unacceptable and evidence-based health, safety and environmental risks that the families in our communities we represent are NOT willing to allow.


Please join us on May 19 to show your support for our cause as we present your case before our County Council. To finish strong, please also circle your calendars to return to the George Howard Building on June 2 to witness what we believe will be historic change as our County Council votes on our issue and what is best for the families of rural Howard County and the environment in which we live.


Together as “One Thousand People as One Voice” we will make this happen. Thank you all for your support!


President, Dayton Rural Preservation Society


Fellow Supporters,

Heartfelt gratitude from your DRPS team to all of our passionate supporters for making time to attend what was a very special and productive community meeting on Mon night. Without "One Thousand People as One Voice," we could not have arrived at this point in only two short months. We are building momentum, and there is still more to accomplish together. 

Our sincere gratitude to County Executive, Ken Ulman, for his focused attention and swift response to the issue of preventing industrial mulching on rural farmland. We were very pleased with Ken’s decision to endorse the bill limiting industrial mulching to one acre on ag preserve farmland, and to also apply the same limitation to RC farmland. We appreciate the leadership he has demonstrated to tackle this issue head on.

Please check out the article by Amanda Yeager per the weblink below published this week in the Baltimore Sun, entitled “Ulman weighs in on mulching issue,” to get a good recap of what transpired at our community meeting:,0,2833570 .story 

Our sincere thanks also to Councilmember Greg Fox for the bill he introduced, and to Councilmembers Watson and Sigaty for co-sponsoring his bill, all of whom were in attendance Mon night. With all of us working together, DRPS is confident that needed changes will be made to the zoning regulations in order to protect our rural communities. That said, in light of the potential health, safety and environmental consequences that can result from a mulching operation even one acre in size, we will continue to push to disallow any type of industrial mulching on anything but areas zoned industrial. DRPS is working to affect changes to the current zoning regulations that will prevent this. We hope the County will work with Industry to find the appropriate areas versus putting these facilities within 500 feet of our homes.

To be clear, DRPS supports a farmer's right to tend to his own land, including to mulch what exists on the farmland in order to increase the cropland footprint. We see nothing in any of the proposed bills that would prevent a farmer from mulching his own property, or a homeowner from creating composting areas for personal use.

We look forward to taking next steps when the County Council holds its public hearing on May 19 at the George Howard Building (3430 Court House Road, Banneker Room, Ellicott City), which we just learned will begin at 6:30pm instead of the 7pm start time previously noted. At this hearing, DRPS will present evidence-based testimony to support its opposition to allowing industrial mulch manufacturing/composting facilities onto our rural farmland.  On behalf of the rural communities we represent throughout Howard County, we strongly oppose this and do not recognize it as a true farming activity.

And here is the call to action: Attend the Public Hearing with our County Council on May 19 beginning at 6:30pm. All of our combined efforts to date have led us to this hearing. You matter. Your presence at this hearing makes a difference, so please make plans to show up early. We will be handing out "No InDUSTry" pins for everyone to wear. Let the County Council see the power of a community standing together committed to one cause. Bring children (with signs; 'Keep Us Safe!,' 'Protect Our Kids!,' No Big Trucks!'), bring grandparents and bring your neighbors and friends.

Be prepared for one standing ovation after another as we stand proudly together as one community. This will be a memorable and special evening if we join as one to pack the courtroom, to be a part of something bigger than any one individual. Many thanks for your commitment to the cause and special thanks to the donors who have contributed so generously. See you May 19th!




Fellow Supporters,

It has been another incredibly busy week for DRPS in our efforts to oppose industrial mulch manufacturing facilities on rural farmland in Howard County. Since our last Note from the President we have seen Councilmember Greg Fox introduce his bill seeking the County Council to vote to accept the tighter restrictions on the size of industrial mulch facilities on our rural farmland. DRPS also submitted their own bill, which went further to limit the ability of industrial facilities to operate at all on rural farmland.  We are pleased to report that Greg Fox's bill was co-sponsored by both Councilmembers Courtney Watson and Mary Kay Sigaty. This moves us in the right direction, but we are not there yet.

Another positive step forward was the time County Executive Ken Ulman set aside to meet with DRPS leadership on Friday to address the issues, given the significant health and safety risks, as well as the environmental consequences, they present to our rural communities. We appreciate the focused time Ken took away from a very busy schedule to meet with us and to better understand our concerns. He clearly took the matter seriously and we look forward to hearing back from him soon after he has had the time to fully review the facts we presented in support of our opposition to these industrial facilities.

Where does that leave us for the upcoming week? It leaves us with the hope that you and your entire family can make time to attend our community meeting today from 7-9pm at the Ten Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville (Route 32 and 108) to hear our update, to listen to select elected officials and local politicians who will address the audience, to learn about the challenges that lie ahead, and next steps for DRPS. Remember, the key to our success is "a thousand people, one voice." Let your voice be heard tonight! Thanks, in advance.



President, DRPS

“A Thousand People, One Voice” 

Your Weekly Update from the President


Hello again to everyone in the Dayton Rural Preservation Society network! The big event for this past week was the Planning Board meeting held this past Thursday at the Ellicott City Courthouse. A HUGE thank you to the 300+ people who showed up that night. There were kids, signs, banners and continual standing ovations as supporters made their arguments. In fact, there were so many of us that the hearing had to be moved to a larger courtroom.

An excellent start to these next few weeks of meetings that we are again asking EVERYONE AND THEIR NEIGHBOR to attend (more on that below).  At the hearing, we were able to present our case to the board, asking that industrial mulching not be allowed on Ag Preserve farmland. After much debate amongst the members of the Planning Board, which we were all able to listen to, they unfortunately came back with a recommendation for less than 10% with additional measures to be added to address traffic, fire safety, water quality and health risks. (This is a recommendation only, the final decision on the zoning laws will be made by the County Council).

While this was not the outright victory we were working hard to achieve, it was obvious that the arguments put forth by all who presented, as well as the message delivered by the presence of hundreds of Preserve Dayton supporters, did cause the Planning Board to give our zoning petition more serious consideration than they might otherwise have done. It is clear that Greg Fox is also working to achieve much lower limits than now specified in the current zoning regs, and we will to continue to work closely with him in the near future. This article by Amanda Yeager of the Baltimore Sun is a good summary of the evening - Planning Board Makes Tweaks to Mulching Regulations.

We are making progress and are gaining momentum. Our collective voice is being heard. The next step is to again BE LOUD WITH OUR PRESENCE

We need 500+ people at the Community Meeting on Monday April 28, 7-9pm in the Ten Oaks Ballroom, 5000 Signal Lane, Clarksville (next to the Clarksville Fire Dept at the Route 32 and 108 junction). Like it or not, this issue is a political one. All of our local politicians during this election year absolutely need to witness the overwhelming opposition for allowing industrial mulch/composting facilities onto our Ag Preserve farmland. Greg Fox and Allan Kittleman will both be at this meeting and plan to address the audience. We will give a detailed update of our work and our progress, outlining next steps, and answering questions.

And…we need 1,000+ at the County Council Hearing on Monday May 19, 7-9pm in the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Road, Ellicott City. This is when the DPZ will present its zoning recommendations to the County Council in preparation for the June 2nd vote by our council on the zoning amendment petitions. We will again present the facts of our case and the hazards that come with industry operating on Ag Preserve land, AND our message will be made immensely stronger with 1,000+ supporters standing behind it.

WHAT IS OUR GOAL?  If the County Council decides to vote in favor of amendments to the current zoning regulations to impose significant restrictions for mulch/composting on Ag Preserve farmland, we will succeed in keeping big industrial mulch/composting facilities from operating on rural Ag Preserve farmland anywhere in Howard County. That is what we’re working for in order to protect you and your family. That is our ultimate and long-term win.

Finally, we need to all show up for the County Council Vote on Monday June 2, 7-9pm in the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Road, Ellicott City. Here the County Council will register its vote on amendments to the current zoning regulations.


John Tegeris, PhD


Dayton Rural Preservation Society

“1,000 People as One Voice”…Keep Spreading the Word!  

Thanks to All.




Welcome to the first weekly edition of our “Letter from the President”; a long one to set the stage. A big hello to our many valued supporters! Thank you for following us with interest. The Dayton Rural Preservation Society (DRPS) has been working diligently since our last community meeting to prevent industrial mulch/composting operations from entering Ag preserve farmland in Howard County.  

To be clear, we respect our farmers and support their true farming operations. What we are fighting to prevent is NOT farming but an industrial process that poses serious health and safety risks to our collective community. To accomplish this, we must convince our County Council to “Roll Back the Regs” to prior terms before the late night, 11th hour changes were made during the 2013 Comprehensive Zoning Amendment process that has led us to this unfortunate situation.

This obviously affects us all and we absolutely need each and every person in the community to play a role. Do NOT underestimate the importance of YOU as part of our unified opposition movement. What those that threaten us are counting on is that you either don’t care, are too busy or are too overwhelmed to know what to do next. Together, we can march through each step of our plan to keep industry out of our community.

Summary of Upcoming Events: Everyone Please Wear a Black Shirt to Demonstrate our Solidarity
There are 3 events in the coming weeks: April 17, April 28 and May 19. These events (April 17, April 28 and May 19) require an enormous turnout to show our five Howard County Council members and other local politicians that, whether intentionally or not, they got it wrong. It is our best shot at winning. We are relying on every one of you to reserve the dates of April 17, April 28 and May 19 and to do everything in your power to attend: you, everyone in your family and all of your neighbors. Spread the word! 

( has the most updated event information)

April 17 (Public Hearing – Planning Board - 3430 Courthouse Drive in Ellicott City from 7 to 10:30PM)
DRPS will present its case on our zoning regulation amendment (ZRA 148) to the Planning Board within the Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) (different group than the County Council) in an attempt to convince the board to consider our zoning petition language even though Marsha McLaughlin (Director of DPZ) has influenced the board to accept what she indicated to us on April 3rd would be a 10% limit on industrial mulch/composting facilities on Ag preserve farmland. This translates into a Bob Orndorff/JBRK, LLC/RLO Contractors win since 10% of the 150 acre farm in Ag preserve he just purchased essentially gives him the 16 acre industrial facility he seeks through the conditional use hearing process.

The same applies in Woodbine with Bonner, who is seeking conditional use for a similar industrial facility of roughly 8 acres on a farm of ~100 acres in total. See an ominous trend starting to form all over the county? Thankfully, Sykesville was spared… at least for the moment. There are unseen forces working against us, and likely Bob Orndorff/JBRK,LLC/RLO Contractors, Sang Oh (Orndorff’s attorney), Marsha McLaughlin and possibly Ken Ulman are behind it all. We need to “Roll Back the Regs” and the time to do so is upon us.

NOTE:  We want to manage expectations for those planning also to attend the Apr 17th DPZ hearing as a show of support for our DRPS movement and opposition to the current zoning regs. While we welcome and appreciate your support there, the hearing will be held in a small room (~50 max capacity) and our number may be up later in the evening, or possibly even pushed to the agenda for the next hearing on May 1st. As such, you may feel a bit removed from the events there but it will still be good for Marsha and her Planning Board to feel our presence, as we ramp up our efforts to oppose the current zoning regs.

April 28 (Community Meeting – Ten Oaks Ballroom, 5000 Signal Bell Lane in Clarksville, (Rt 108/32) from 7 to 9PM)
We need everyone at our next community-wide meeting. At this meeting, we will update you on the progress we have made since we last met on February 20th, the obstacles we have faced, the challenges that lie ahead, and our planned next steps. Councilman Greg Fox and Senator Allan Kittleman will be in attendance and both plan to address the audience. We need Dayton, Ellicott City, Sykesville, Woodbine and Clarksville as well as any other cities/townships and their supporters to urge the residents of their respective communities to commit to attending. We had nearly 300 people at the February 20th meeting and 150 people at the Sykesville meeting.  We need twice the crowd at this meeting to send a strong signal that we are gaining momentum across Howard County. This is a must!

May 19 (County Council Meeting - 3430 Courthouse Drive in Ellicott City from 7-10PM)
This is the date DRPS was given for the County Council meeting to hear zoning amendment petitions. The DPZ will present its recommendation and we will present our recommendations to the 5 member County Council Board. The Council will be voting likely in early June on the fate of the zoning amendment petitions we, together with Greg Fox (ZRA 149), submitted.  Another important date to mark on your calendars but please understand that the dates could change.  This might possibly be May 12th.  Continue to check our web site often!

Why is it important that EVERYONE attend the County Council meeting scheduled for now on May 19?
It is imperative that our elected officials understand that this issue is important to the voters. We are calling for the zoning regs to be essentially restored to what existed prior to the most recent zoning changes. The County Council members have to see that our voice and our vote counts, and that we expect them to be stewards of the people who elected them into office. They have to see all of you to be reminded just how important it is to this community that the zoning regulations that protected our agricultural land be restored. Otherwise, as currently written, industrial businesses can use Ag preserve farmland to conduct business more cost effectively with lower taxes to pay!

The DPZ will be proposing a 10% allowance for industrial processes. This means that throughout Howard County there is the potential for hundreds of acres to be devoted to industrial use. Our County Council members need to see that this is NOT in line with preserving the agricultural land. The way to get through to them is in sheer numbers. We need to show up on May 19th en masse - a minimum of 1,000 people dressed in black shirts and wearing the “No Industrial Mulch” buttons we will be handing out.

The outcome we now face is unacceptable. We are working extremely hard and at a furious pace, sacrificing time away from our own families to ensure we can protect yours. Only by being “A Thousand People with One Voice” can we even begin to push for these needed changes. Let your voice be heard. We are making steady progress but you are the key to our success. Sincere thanks to all of you.


John Tegeris, PhD


Dayton Rural Preservation Society

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