A hydrogeologist said
inadequate monitoring wells prevent him from
determining if dredged material and other fill at
the Hazleton Creek Partners site threatens water
"A groundwater well should have groundwater
in it," Robert Gadinski said Tuesday after
testifying about the site on Friday before the
Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing
"I believe there are five wells. One in the
middle of the site shows water periodically,"
Gadiniski said. Other wells are 30 feet deep and
monitor sewage discharges, not the mine pool, he
A retired state hydrogeologist, Gadinski
testified for Citizen Advocates United to
Safeguard the Environment, or CAUSE.
CAUSE brought the case to the board. The
group believes materials that Hazleton Creek can
put into the 277-acre site under terms of a state
permit might pollute water and pose other
Gadinski testified that monitoring wells need
to be closer to the site. He also said consultants
should test an underground lake and investigate
whether hazardous vapors can move through the
mines to homes.
Typically, wells are within 200 feet down
gradient from sources of waste, whereas a site
survey relies on water from the Hazleton Shaft, 1½
miles away, he said.
The Buck Mountain Mine Pool, one of two at
the site, is listed at an elevation of 1,345 feet
in a report by Craig Robertston, an expert for
Hazleton Creek Properties, the company reclaiming
the site. Maps supplied with the report show the
water level at 1,546 feet.
"Which is the level?" Gadinski
Robertson was scheduled to testify
If the Buck Mountain Mine Pool is at the
higher elevation, it might interact with wells
along Route 309, Gadinski said. Potentially that
could affect wells in the Hazleton Heights
section, too, he said.
An underground lake might have formed between
Hazleton Shaft and the site, Gadinski said. The
water there never has been tested for depth and
contamination with chemicals such as PCBs, which
have been found in drums illegally dumped on the
property, he said.
Gadinski also said no study has been done on
whether vapors could move beneath the site through
mines and into buildings.
"I brought up Tranguch, the Valmont site,"
Gadinski said of two spill sites where underground
tanks leaked and vapors endangered residents in
the Hazleton area. At Tranguch, gasoline leaked,
and at Valmont a fluid called trichloroethylene
posed a concern.
Earlier in the hearing, two hydrogeologists
disagreed about how groundwater moves through the
Penn State University professsor Christopher
Duffy, testifying for CAUSE, said some of the flow
will go north but some will enter the Jeddo Mine
Tunnel and reach Nescopeck Creek.
Alexander Zdzinski of the state Department of
Environmental Protection, however, said the
groundwater is likely to flow into the Jeddo
Tunnel via the Hazleton Shaft and a connector
called Tunnel X.
Gadinski said flows that Duffy and Zdzinski
described both could occur, but the study of the
site isn’t detailed enough to be sure.
Sinking a monitoring well 600 feet into the
mine pool would provide more answers, but the well
would cost Hazleton Creek approximately $50,000 to
Hazleton Creek obtained approval under terms
of a general state permit to reclaim 277 acres
that include mineland and a landfill. The company
owned by William C. Rinaldi and Marvin Slomowitz
plans to reclaim the land with dredged material
mixed with fly ash and dust from cement or lime
When reclaiming ends, the site bounded by
Routes 309, 93 and 924 will be ready for an
amphitheater where Mayor Louis Barletta hopes
major recording stars will perform
Administrative Law Judge Bernard Labuskes Jr.
presides over the hearing, which is expected to
last throughout April.
Another environmental group, SUFFER, or Save
Us From Future Environmental Risk, challenged a
separate approval that lets Hazleton Creek use
dredged material and brick, block, stone, asphalt
sorted from demoltion sites to build roads and a
The board hasn’t scheduled that case for a