MAHONING TOWNSHIP, PA. Ash dumping plan raises concerns
Residents near the quarry are concerned about contamination and roadway safety.
BY MARY GRZEBIENIAK
HILLSVILLE, Pa. -- Some Mahoning Township residents and state environmental agents have something in common: They're concerned about plans to dump coal ash in an abandoned quarry off Erskine Quarry Road.
Mahoning Township supervisors have been presented with a copy of a letter from Geologist Richard Beam of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation to Charles Pezzulo, who, along with Frank Lentine, owns the quarry property. The bureau is part of the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Beam's letter notes that water quality in the area of the quarry is fine, and that it's potential degradation is of concern to the department.
Beam's letter also pointed out several "deficiencies" which must be addressed before the dumping proposal can be approved by state officials. Among them: No source of coal ash has been identified; property owners do not control mineral rights and approval of subsurface owners must be obtained; and documentation is needed showing the proposal is consistent with local zoning laws and land use requirements.
Residents: Many of the approximately 25 people who attended Tuesday's supervisors meeting, where the letter was read, expressed concerns about the project.
Supervisor Chairman Poncho Exposito said DEP officials have agreed to schedule an informational meeting on the dump plan after Labor Day.
Township Solicitor Thomas Leslie cautioned residents not to wait until then to express their concerns. A legal ad in a local newspaper indicated that comments on the project must be received by Aug. 20 or 21. The should be sent to J. Scott Horrell, Environmental Program Manager, Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, 286 Industrial Park Road, Ebensburg, PA, 15931-4119.
Trustees took no position on the landfill plan.
Residents have been expressing concern about the project's potential impact on the area since last spring when they learned of plans to deposit the ash in the abandoned limestone quarry about a half-mile from the Ohio line.
Several residents of Butch Circle, where about 20 homes sit just south of the site, have said they are especially concerned about the possibility of arsenic contamination coming from the ash through runoff.
Other objections include having truck traffic on narrow roads and the potential for large trucks encountering school buses on a blind curve near the site.
Coal ash is unburnable particles left from burning fuels at power generating stations.