HAZLETON, PA Saturday, 27 January 2007
Local News
Local Sports
National News
National Sports
Senior Scene
Arts & Entertainment
Ray Saul
Staff Columns
All Categories
Help Wanted
Homes For Rent
Homes For Sale
Legal Notice
Place An Ad
Company Store
Contact Us
Photo Gallery
Send us your news.
Click here for more information! Click here to visit the Gallery!!
Nilles, environmentalist seek answers to dredge questions Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 January 2007

It wasn’t on the agenda, but Hazleton’s mineland reclamation project using river dredge was the main topic of discussion during Tuesday night’s city council meeting. During the discussion, city Engineer Bob Dougherty said about 500,000 cubic yards of dredge is not being mixed with fly ash because it’s to be used as fill under what will be a parking lot.
Councilman Bob Nilles and local activist Drew Magill, a member of Save Us From Future Environmental Risks (SUFFER), raised the question.
During the post-agenda comment period, Magill pointed to plans to accept construction debris from a Phillipsburg, N.J., building and that some dredge was being placed into mine pits without being mixed with fly ash.
“This illustrates one reason we’re (SUFFER) appealing the permits,” Magill said. “This project is changing and morphing into something other than it had been.”
Magill noted initial word had it that dredge would be baked before being placed into pits and that plans had been for it to be transported by rail, rather than truck. As the Standard-Speaker detailed last week, truck transportation has been selected by the developer Hazleton Creek Partners because it’s less expensive than rail. But Magill said the changes represent “the gradual eroding of safety precautions as we’re going along.
“I have no doubt that Mayor Barletta and his supporters on council entered into this project with the best of intentions and trust,” Magill said. “But it appears this is becoming as cash cow for (HCP). Only they get the milk and we’re getting the manure.”
During member’s questions, Nilles picked up on the point. He said he remembered Penn State University professor Barry Scheetz saying fly ash made the resulting substance “cementicious like” hard. He asked if that was the case, why it wasn’t being used on what was being deposited now.
Dougherty said what’s being filled now is the future site of the parking lot, as it’s not suitable to build on because of the landfill underneath.
Therefore, he said, it wasn’t necessary that dredge be as hard as it must be underneath the actual amphitheater. But he said fly ash would be added to the dredge that will be used to fill in pits upon which structures will be built.
Nilles also asked about testing.
Dougherty said dredge was being tested at Fort Mifflin by Hawk Mountain Laboratories weeks in advance of its arrival here.
Nilles also asked whether there was any documentation that what was tested is what is delivered. Dougherty said paperwork used formed a “closed circle,” adding each load was accompanied by papers that showed from which cell at Fort Mifflin it was taken and test results.
Nilles also asked why the city was receiving payment for dredge but not construction debris – noting high tipping fees charged by landfills.
Dougherty said the construction debris would be used for the basis of access roads, calling it an “integral” part of the project, adding the city didn’t believe receivng payment for it was necessary.
Councilman Tom Gabos also had a list of questions – including whether the Route 309 entrance was being used yet. Dougherty said paving was complete, but the city was waiting for delivery of the truck wash.
When it arrives, that entrance will be used instead of the Cranberry entrance.
Gabos also asked about additional testing. Dougherty said the contract with HCP gives the city the authority to order up to 12 additional tests per year, beyond what the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection requires.
Gabos said he thought the city should do that “just incase someone down there fell asleep at the switch.”
Dougherty agreed and said the city planned additional tests on site but hadn’t yet selected by whom they’d be performed. Vice President Jack Mundie said council wanted results of tests when they’re done. Dougherty said he’d provide them.
Gabos said he thought the city should be provided with some background on buildings from which debris is coming. Dougherty said some is provided.
He added that under the DEP permit, only brick, block and cement are allowed – all other debris must be separated at the point of origin.
He said HCP risked losing its contract and multi-million dollar investment should that provision be violated.
Earlier, former city council president Bill Lockwood, also of SUFFER, asked about additional testing as well.
He also pointed to a battle between the city and the former Department of Environmental Resources in the 1980s over the city dump site.
He said DER wanted it closed for several reasons – chemicals that were been dumped there starting in the late 1940s, that it wasn’t lined and the unacceptability of rock fill.
The city refused – though it was closed in the late 1980s.
“I want to know what changed,” Lockwood said. “Back then, they were putting residual waste into an open shaft. It seems you’re doing the same thing now.”
No one from HCP was at the meeting. Mayor Lou Barletta listened, but did not comment.
< Prev   Next >

Print your own coupons online!
© Copyright Standard~Speaker Newspapers 2006