LTE: Here is Why Camp Hope Run Landfill in Boggs Township is Bad for Clearfield County

Dear Editor:

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Williamsport, just approved a permit for the Camp Hope Run landfill in Boggs Township that is proposed by PA Waste LLC.

At first, hundreds of trucks will pass through Lawrence Township on state Route 879 from Interstate 80 and SR 153, and later on, it will switch possibly to train movements blocking U.S. Route 322 at Dairy Queen, Litz Bridge (SR 153) and Erie Pike.

The following day, PA Waste put out a press release for the county residents listing the benefits for our local community.  The list included 20 new jobs, thousands in tax dollars for Boggs Township and the cleaning up of a brown zone acid mine drainage problem. At first glance, this appears to be a win-win for the county and they want you to look no further.

The reason I am against this garbage dump is very simple. The 217-acre proposed dump site currently discharges acid mine drainage (iron) into Clearfield Creek due to bad strip-mining practices conducted 25 years ago by a local company.

Who is the local man who knowingly sold this property for the dump? Did he truly think this was industry and progress for the county? I guess he needed the money.

The company lost its bonding on the site and due to poor money management, DEP no longer treats the site. Iron in the water gives the water the orange color we are all use to in Anderson, Moshannon and Clearfield Creeks. Since 1920, 52 miles of streams in this county have been destroyed.

At first, the environmental damage was due to ignorance but then greed took over and operators simply did not care. After World War II, the government put in strict regulations but the damage went on.

The difference between acid mine drainage and garbage dump effluent is that you can drink mine contaminated-water while the leachate out of a dump is toxic. Over time the acid mine leachate diminishes, but the leachate from the dump will go on for centuries long after the dump is closed and the money source to treat the leachate is gone.

Furthermore, unlike a sewage treatment plant or acid mine drainage brown field, the dump drainage/leachate changes in toxicity constantly and treating it is a moving target. Remember, we are swapping a brownfield for a toxic dump that will leach for hundreds of years!

Pharmaceuticals, carcinogens, lead, radioactive and a whole host of other toxic materials will flow out at different stages and they will discharge into Clearfield Creek untreated before they are detected. By the time it will be caught, it will be too late!

We can’t afford an oops! Likewise, directly underneath the dump is the Burgoon Sandstone formation, which local people in their rural wells use for drinking water. DEP states that the dump will have a double liner, but they also acknowledge that all their double-lined dumps leak in this state!

This site has a fault underneath that the dump people and DEP say is not a “Risk Zone.” Once the drinking water table has been damaged, it is irrevocable. I find it odd that the permit had 71 deficiencies last time, and suddenly all the defects went away!

People do not move into dump zones, towns do not grow, stores do not prosper, real estate does not appreciate and doctors do not build houses or rush to join a local hospital. Think about it, if this is such a good idea why didn’t the proponents build it in their hometowns and get the free money? The garbage will be coming from New York and Jersey so why did these folks put it here?

The reason is because they figured they found gullible, ignorant people who could be swayed by a new fire truck, playground equipment, YMCA donation, church windows and lower taxes in return for an eternity of a hazardous site.

Don’t be fooled when they list the benefits because they are insulting you. If the dump receives 5,000 tons per day as quoted, this is a 20-40 million a year operation for the owners.

Finally, I commend and support the township supervisors and the Clearfield County Commissioners for staying steadfast against it and while it will take a drawn-out legal battle to stop it, I think the majority of people will see through the weak benefits.

Only science will stop this and not emotion.  Remember, if this is a great idea, then why didn’t some town between here and New York grab it? Don’t sell your soul for a bowl of soup; stop the dump for the future generations.

Rich Hughes

Clearfield

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