Permit Issued to Halt Runoff for I-99 Acid Rock Problem

WILLIAMSPORT – The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday issued a water quality management permit to the Department of Transportation for work that must be done to halt acidic runoff from immoveable pyritic rock at the Interstate 99 construction site in Patton Township, Centre County.

“This permit marks a major milestone in solving what has been a large and extremely complex problem,” DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell said.

The DEP permit addresses work that PennDOT will do at the large cut-face, small cut-face and buttress/bifurcation to eliminate any acidic water runoff from pyritic rock in these areas. Specifically, the permit allows PennDOT to:

* Construct an impermeable membrane and Geoweb cover system over both the large and small buttress/bifurcation fills, the small cut-face and the high wall and low wall of the large cut-face.

* Construct an impermeable geosynthetic clay liner and Geoweb cover system over the median within the bifurcation area.

* Construct a collection system to collect the small amount of contaminated water from along the buttress/bifurcation fills, the cut faces, and the bifurcation median area that seeps from under the cover and liner systems.

* Collect and store all contaminated wastewater for disposal at one of three facilities permitted for the treatment and discharge of wastewater.

* Operate the wastewater collection and storage system in accordance with a DEP-approved pollution prevention and contingency plan.

* Monitor surface water and groundwater and report all results.

“With these measures fully and successfully implemented, the department is confident that the immovable pyritic rock will be effectively contained and the environment will be fully protected,” Yowell said.

DEP held a public meeting and hearing on the application for the immoveable pyritic rock May 15 at the Park Forest Middle School. DEP responded to all public comments that the department received during and after the hearing.

A permit also is needed for moveable rock. A second public meeting and hearing was held July 20 at the Bald Eagle Area High School auditorium so the public could comment on PennDOT’s application for the moveable pyritic rock at Skytop.

“DEP will continue to work closely with our sister agency, its consultants and all of the I-99 partners as we complete our review of PennDOT’s other permit application to address the moveable pyritic rock,” Yowell said. “We hope to make a final decision on that application within a few weeks.”

For more information about the I-99 acid rock drainage problem in Centre County, visit DEP’s Web site<HTTP: www.depweb.state.pa.us>, select “DEP Keywords” and then “I-99 Information.”

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