SHARPSVILLE, PA. Proposal to dig slag concerns residents

The company has to secure a state mining permit before resuming its work.
SHARPSVILLE, Pa. -- SQP Industries' plan to dig up about 2 million tons of blast furnace slag on its Sixth Street property over the next 10 years has some residents concerned.
People are asking about noise, dust, truck traffic and air quality, said Borough Manager Michael Wilson, prompting the borough to meet Thursday with SQP and representatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
SQP actually began digging up and removing some of the slag, which is an iron-making waste byproduct that can be used as a base in road and parking lot construction, in March 2002, but it stopped in July when the DEP said it needed a mining permit.
An application seeking a permit to dig up about 250,000 tons of slag per year was filed in October and a permit could be issued within a few months said, Lori Odenthal of DEP's Knox District Mining Office.
Noise issue
Wilson questioned the noise that a diesel-powered generator on the site might produce, but Don Lacey, SQP chief operating officer, said the generator ran from February to July last year with no complaints.
Jonathan Hiser of Hiser Engineering Inc., SQP's consultant, said the diesel is the same size as a pickup truck's diesel engine and runs several small electric motors used in a screening plant that prepares the slag for sale.
Lacey and DEP officials said the plan is to remove slag that was dumped on the ground and down a slope over decades of foundry operation. The land would be restored to its original contour.
Wilson asked if the work will produce dust. Lacey said the slag has a moisture content high enough that no dust is produced during digging or screening. The only dust might come from the site's access road, he said.
Odenthal said the company could be required to have a watering system to dampen the slag and a water truck to dampen the access road.
There won't be any surface water runoff from the site nor any discharge into the Shenango River, Lacey said. Hiser noted that any water containing sediment will be collected in small retention ponds that will allow the sediment to settle before the water is pumped out.
Brian Mummert of DEP's waste management section, said SQP won't be allowed to sell any of its slag in Pennsylvania until the material is tested to be sure it isn't hazardous.
Ohio doesn't have that same limitation, and SQP could sell it there now, he added.
Wilson said there also have been complaints about Sabre Corp. of New York, the company hired by SQP to raze the old foundry buildings.
Dust coming from that work has coated houses and gotten inside homes. At one point, a large plume of dust rising from the plant had firefighters responding to what they thought was a fire there, Wilson said.
Devendra Verna of DEP's air quality section said inspectors will visit those affected homes and make more frequent visits to the demolition site. Sabre could be required to do some cleanup around those homes, he added.

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