CLEARFIELD – Once again the possibility of a landfill in Boggs Township looms on the horizon, and county and local officials are preparing to fight what they and many citizens in the county consider detrimental to Clearfield County’s environment and citizens.
PA Waste LLC attempted to locate a landfill in Boggs Township, beginning the application process in 2006, and after extensive review, and strong opposition, the plan was scrapped just a few years ago.
Now, Phase 1 of a new application has been submitted to the state Department of Environmental Protection and a Local Municipal Involvement Process meeting was held Tuesday night with local officials by DEP, and a press conference was held afterward.
Representatives invited to the meeting included those from the county, Lawrence Township, Boggs Township, Bradford Township, Decatur Township, Woodward Township, Clearfield County Conservation District, Senator Wayne Langerholc Jr. and Reps. Tommy Sankey, R-73 of Clearfield, and Matt Gabler, R-75 of DuBois and Clearfield Borough, though not all attended.
Megan Lehman, community relations coordinator with DEP’s office in Williamsport, noted that the application process is at the very beginning stages and an LMIP meeting is held to give an overview of the process as well as to begin to establish a rough timeline and get some initial feedback.
The facility is intended to have a boundary of 845 acres with the actual waste boundary of 217 acres and 5,000 tons maximum waste processed daily.
Seven departments within DEP will be involved in the review, including the Clean Water Program, Watershed Program, Safe Drinking Water Program, Oil and Gas Program, Air Quality Program, Mining Program and the Environmental Cleanups and Brownfield Program.
Other agencies that may be involved include the state Department of Transportation, state Fish and Boat Commission, state Game Commission, Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The process begins with Phase 1, the site background information, and then Phase 2, which includes design information, operational information and closure information.
DEP noted that approval of Phase 1 does not guarantee approval of Phase 2. And review factors include environmental, economic and social.
There will be at least one public meeting held regarding the application, most likely after Phase 2 is submitted and before DEP gives a final decision on either phase.
However, if DEP has a decision on Phase 1 before Phase 2 is submitted, a public meeting may be held for each phase. A 30-day notice will be given prior to any public meeting.
Also, members of the public may submit comments at any time during the process by contacting DEP. Information on PA Waste’s application can be found at DEP’s Web site: www.dep.pa.gov.
You can click on Regional Resources, then North Central Region, then Community Information. On the right-hand side is a link labeled “Camp Hope Run Landfill,” which includes a contact link.
County Commissioners John Sobel and Tony Scotto also spoke to the press and gave copies of their informational packet that was given to DEP, including written objections and questions the commissioners have concerning the application.
Sobel said the commissioners still strongly oppose the landfill, stating that it will have serious impacts on traffic, on public safety and on the environment.
He said since the original application there have been many changes in the county in regards to traffic patterns and population.
Scotto added that it will have an impact on the county’s waste management plan as well, noting that PA Waste has never given a definitive answer as to where the waste–consisting mainly of municipal, construction and demolition waste—will come from.
The commissioners are also concerned about operation of the landfill. PA Waste does not operate landfills and the commissioners referred to the recent accident at Greentree in Elk County, which is operated by a company heavily involved in landfill operations.
Their concern is that accidents would be more prevalent at Camp Hope Run.
The commissioners have also expressed concerns in the past regarding damage to the water table as a result of leaks and damage to the site from undermining and possible faults.
Scotto added that if this landfill is approved, it could open the county up to more landfills and similar proposals.
Steve Harmic, Clearfield Borough council member, also spoke with the press and stated similar concerns.
He noted that any construction or accidents on Interstate 80 would result in landfill traffic being re-routed through the borough, endangering not only borough residents, but also school children at the consolidated elementary School.
The borough’s recent expenditures to improve infrastructure would also be in jeopardy and the borough is concerned that PA Waste will not compensate the borough or other municipalities. The borough also echoes concerns about where the waste would be coming from.
Neither the commissioners nor the borough could voice any good to come out of the landfill that would outweigh any of the negatives, except that the process has brought forth public attention and involvement.