CLEARFIELD – During a press conference Friday morning, Clearfield County officials applauded the state Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) decision to deny a municipal waste landfill permit application originally submitted in 2006 by PA Waste LLC of Feasterville, Bucks County, for a location in Boggs Township.
County officials were notified of the landfill permit application denial late yesterday afternoon by the DEP’s Williamsport office. “They kept their commitment to doing the job of protecting the resources of Pennsylvania. They made sure that every step of the permitting process was done correctly and made a fair overview of each step of the way,” said Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen, chair.
In the denial letter, the DEP identified numerous technical deficiencies in the PA Waste landfill permit application, including: the sub-base contact with groundwater; the improper leachate collection and treatment; the inefficient functionality of the leachate detection zone; the improper liner installation procedures; and the inadequate erosion and sedimentation control measures, said both Robinson-McMillen and Jodi Brennan, county planning and solid waste authority director.
Robinson-McMillen added that “[PA Waste] had numerous extensions and every opportunity to meet deadlines and to provide information in the permitting process.” She thanked the board of commissioners for standing strong against the proposed construction of the Boggs Township landfill over many years. PA Waste now has 30 days to appeal the DEP’s denial of the landfill permit application, Robinson-McMillen said.
“If I had to characterize this though, our local people strongly lobbied for the county to oppose this landfill. As previously said, PA Waste does have the option to appeal the DEP’s decision. However, I think we may have seen David just slay Goliath here. The DEP found solid scientific reasons to oppose granting this landfill permit to PA Waste.”
In a statement, Commissioner Mark B. McCracken recognized the DEP staff members who were involved in the review of the landfill permit application. “Their responsibility was to pour over pages and pages of submitted information and identify the environmental weaknesses. Their diligent work is appreciated not only by the Clearfield County Commissioners, but [also] by the many citizens who expressed concerns about the environmental impacts the Camp Hope Run landfill would have on their properties and the overall community.
“… As I’ve said all along, the Camp Hope Run site in Boggs Township has been subjected to an environmental problem from acid mine drainage that has been under treatment for many years. Unfortunately, the proposal by PA Waste to construct a landfill on this site would bring additional environmental problems without the return of the land to the natural beauty the citizens of Boggs Township and Clearfield County want.”
Solicitor Kim Kesner said he supported the commissioners taking a stand against the PA Waste landfill permit application. He said there was a “lack of need” for the proposed Camp Hope Run landfill, as there is excess capacity in Pennsylvania and in this region.
“The impetus is purely for profits,” he said, emphasizing there weren’t any long-term benefits to Clearfield County. In fact, Kesner said if PA Waste had been permitted to construct the Boggs Township landfill, it would have been a “knife in the throat” of the county’s recycling program.
Kesner commended the DEP for its extreme deliberation and inordinate patience with the PA Waste landfill permit application. He also said that, “I feel the voters will be satisfied with the commissioners doing right by them. They took a position of good management of waste in Clearfield County.”
PA Waste Landfill Application Timeline
According to paperwork from the DEP, PA Waste had submitted a permit application in September of 2006 for a new, double-lined 221-acre municipal waste landfill called “Camp Hope Run” to be constructed in Boggs Township. The landfill was proposed to accept 5,000 tons per day of municipal waste.
- The Local Municipality Involvement Process meeting was held in January of 2007, and the application was determined to be administratively complete the following month.
- In July of 2008, the DEP denied the application, primarily because of site suitability requirements in Act 101. PA Waste appealed this decision to the state Environmental Hearing Board (EHB). The EHB sustained the appeal in November of 2010, and remanded the decision to the DEP.
- The DEP resumed its review of the application, including site suitability, as part of the required environmental assessment and determined in late August of 2012 that the benefits outweighed the harms.
- In January of 2013, at the request of local citizens and elected officials, the DEP held a public hearing attended by about 170 people to accept formal testimony. About three dozen people presented testimony during the public hearing, with the vast majority opposing the project.
- In February of 2013, the DEP sent a technical deficiency letter to PA Waste, citing 71 deficiencies. A pre-denial letter was issued by the DEP in August of 2013, explaining the remaining deficiencies. The DEP granted multiple extensions to PA Waste to submit additional technical information.
- PA Waste’s November of 2014 submission did not address all of the deficiencies in the company’s municipal waste landfill permit application.
For more information and to view the denial letter, click here. Or, visit www.dep.state.pa.us, and click on regional resources, then north-central, then community information.