Friday, April 23, 2010

Rogers Allegations Refuted In Original Public Document Filed By DEP

On the Community News portion of the Department of Environmental Resources Northeast Region page there is a document titled "HCP Comment & Response Document (PDF)". If you click on that link the 57 page document the following opening paragraph reads

On October 24, 2009, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) began a thirty-day public comment period on a registration for a residual waste general permit submitted by Hazleton Creek Properties, LLC (HCP). The application is for a research and development project involving the use of construction and demolition fines and regulated fill in mine reclamation and as construction material. Comments were received from the 712 commentators listed at the end of this document. Relevant comments derived from written comments received during the public comment period have been summarized below. Comments are representative of single or multiple commentators. Department responses are provided for each comment or grouping of comments.

The last sentence tells all. Here are some of the comments and responses.

4. Comment:
25 Pa. Code 287.611(e)(3) states that DEP will not issue a general permit for “the use of residual waste to fill open pits from coal or noncoal mining except for coal ash mixed with residual waste … .” (89)

DEP can waive or modify this provision in accordance with Section 287.632.

With regards to Todd Eachus's persistent claim that a liner MUST be put on the site read the next comment:

5. Comment:
The failure of HCP to install a liner, along with a leachate collection and treatment system, to protect the groundwater creates a great risk to the health and safety of the City of Hazleton, since the general permit is for the R&D of new, untested technology. (89, 92, 93, 672, 673, 675, 678, 680)

Mine reclamation projects do not require a liner or other containment systems, since the proposed chemical limits are considered protective without the need of a liner system. If approved, the authorization to operate under the general permit would include a number of safeguards, such as sampling and analysis of the incoming materials, groundwater monitoring and regular reporting, to ensure that problems, though not expected, would be quickly identified and addressed.

SOP has pointed out the Times Leader reporters that there isn't enough material on site to remediate and reclaim the land.

6. Comment:
Normally, mine reclamation is accomplished using available on-site overburden (mine spoil) for backfilling. (89)

There is not enough on-site overburden to properly reclaim the site. Typically, additional materials are needed to complete remediation at any mine site.

With regards to the scientific evidence claim by Rogers that “There is abundant scientific data already available that provides evidence of environmental degradation and harm when solid waste is disposed of as proposed by HCP,” he concluded Take a look at these comments and responses.

8. Comment:
How these materials react to the physical environment is not known. (89)

This is part of the information that will be attained through the R&D project. It is not anticipated that the placement of these materials will negatively impact or harm the environment. The R & D project will produce data to evaluate the ability of regulated fill and construction and demolition fines to perform as a construction material.

9. Comment:
Research projects typically include extensive baseline analyses of the geology, hydrogeologic conditions, and water quality at the site. It is our understanding that such extensive analyses have not been done. (89)

An extensive baseline environmental report has been done at this site by Groundwater Sciences Corporation in 2004. In addition, an enhanced groundwater monitoring plan was developed for this site and additional groundwater monitoring data has already been generated by HCP.

Eachus tried to tell the public that Geologits Robert Gadinski's report was correct.

Mark McClellan of Evergreen Environmental, Inc., a consultant for Hazleton Creek Properties, had these remarks regarding Gadinski's report. "Everything Mr. Gadinski claimed here is erroneous, untrue and an absolute misrepresentation of the facts," DEP responds to Mr. Gadinsk's comments in its report.

The report issued by Mr. Gadinski suggests that the present groundwater monitoring plan at the site is woefully inadequate and is inconsistent with DEP’s Groundwater Guidance Manual. (89, 92, 93, 565, 672, 673, 675, 684)
Until HCP can propose a monitoring system that is approved by a third-party, it is irresponsible to place experimental dredged material and construction and demolition fines so close to our homes. (678)

The current enhanced groundwater monitoring plan for this site was developed by HCP and approved by DEP as a result of an appeal of General Permit Number WMGR085D001 by Citizen Advocates United to Safeguard the Environment (CAUSE) to the Environmental Hearing Board. Prior to DEP approval, CAUSE, through its consultant, Mr. Gadinski, was given an opportunity to review and comment on the enhanced plan that was submitted by HCP. It was determined by DEP, and agreed to by CAUSE through Mr. Gadinski, that the enhanced groundwater monitoring plan, including the additional work requested by CAUSE, as submitted by HCP was adequate. DEP continues to believe that the plan will be effective in protecting human health and the environment.

The entire report appears to refute every claim by the opponents of this plan. It certainly addresses the concerns of Mr. Rogers. Mr. Eachus's protests appear to be a misguided political attack with no scientific or regulatory foundation.

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