DEP Announces Public Meeting, Hearing for Ridgway Landfill

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MEADVILLE – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced it will hold a public meeting and formal hearing concerning the Ridgway Borough landfill site in Ridgway Township, Elk County, on April 29 at 6 p.m. at the Ridgway Borough building, 108 Main St., Ridgway.

The landfill site consists of about 15 acres that once operated as a mixed waste landfill between the early 1960s and June of 1975. During a department investigation, lead-containing industrial waste and 55-gallon drums containing trichloroethylene (TCE) were encountered in several trenches throughout the landfill.

“This is an opportunity for the department to share important information with the public concerning the hazards at this landfill as well as DEP’s planned response,” Staci Gustafson, acting northwest regional director for DEP said. “We will be answering questions in addition to a formal hearing.”

DEP, under the authority of the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act, 35 (HSCA), has determined that a response is necessary. The department is proposing to implement an interim response to reduce or eliminate the threats to human health and the environment from the hazardous wastes and substances found at the site by targeting the known drums of TCE and high levels of lead in the surface soils.

An HSCA Interim Response is not required to meet all the goals of a final cleanup, but it is consistent with those final goals. In this case, the planned response will address the two most immediate threats at the site, the release and potential release of drummed TCE waste, and exposure to surface lead contamination. Additional work may be required to achieve a final cleanup.

DEP will hold the public meeting at the Ridgway Borough building to explain the department’s proposed interim response. Following the meeting, the public will have the opportunity to present oral comments for inclusion into the administrative record regarding the proposed interim response at a formal public hearing.

The highest potential risks to human health and the environment at the site are the high levels of lead found in surface soils and the known buried 55 gallon drums containing TCE. The lead poses a significant threat to human health through direct contact and inhalation. The potential risk posed by TCE and its breakdown products are to any potential end users including aquatic life and recreational users of surface water. TCE is a carcinogen.

For more information, visit www.dep.state.pa.us.

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