Alpha Ridge Landfill - Facts & Figures

Alpha Ridge Landfill is Howard County's third public landfill, and the only public landfill open to accept waste. Alpha Ridge landfill was opened in 1980, and is located on a 550 acre site, of which 190 acres is permitted for landfilling.

Although all household trash collected from Howard County homes is currently being exported to a private landfill located in King George County, Virginia, residential and commercial trash is still being accepted at Alpha Ridge Landfill. A small portion of Howard County trash continues to be buried at the Alpha Ridge Landfill.

  • Howard County's existing landfill opened in May 1980 at a cost of $5.25 million, including 590 acres of land costing $1.2 million.
  • From 1980-1993, the initial unlined area of 68 acres received 2.3 million tons of waste.
  • In January 1993, a 38 acre lined cell (4-10 acre sub-cells) was finished at a cost of $7.6 million, including a leachate handling system. Current landfilling averages less than 30 tons per day.
  • Peak year for filling was 1989 at 287,000 tons.
  • Another 80 acres can be used to construct lined landfill cells in addition to the 110 acres currently developed.
  • The 68 acre unlined cell has been capped, which includes landfill gas extraction and groundwater remediation systems.
  • Current annual operating cost is $10.0 million (not including debt service). This includes groundwater monitoring and treatment.
  • From Alpha Ridge Landfill and Annapolis Junction Transfer station, 103,290 tons of waste were exported to King George County Landfill in Virginia in 2016.
  • From Alpha Ridge Landfill, outgoing recyclables totaled 27,129 tons in 2016.
  • In addition, residential curbside single-stream recycling totaled 31,031 tons in 2016.
  • In 2015, Howard County achieved a 49.9% diversion rate. 

150 year old oak at Alpha Ridge

The specimen oak at Alpha Ridge Landfill located near the landfill’s cow barn succumbed to age, rot, bugs and weather with its last branches collapsing in September 2016. The tree, about 100 years old when it was acquired with the landfill property in 1979 stood watch over the area just north of I-70. After reviewing its condition with the Bureau of Highway's tree crew, after the storm, there was nothing alive left to salvage. Jeff Dannis, Chief of the Operations Division reported, “It had been rotting from the inside for years. Finally the exterior ring could no longer support the two remaining branches, and they dropped to the ground tearing at what remained of the trunk.” The tree remains will be removed and the remaining wood assessed for specialty lumber. Rotted and insect ridden material will be composted on site. “It’s a shame,” said Dannis, “long-term planning for the site had planned for the tree’s continued watch over the site.” There are no intermediate plans for the crest where the tree stood.