Pennsylvania landfill plans raise questions

Expansion proposals near Allentown and Scranton draw questions at public meetings.

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 A proposal to expand a landfill near Allentown, Pennsylvania, drew a lengthy series of questions at a public meeting while the expansion of the Keystone Sanitary Landfill near Scranton, Pennsylvania, has gained the attention of a regional environmental advocacy group.

 
A late March public meeting hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of the Environment (DEP) was designed to allow concerned citizens to ask questions about the proposed expansion of the Chrin Landfill in Williams Township, near Allentown.
 
According to a news item prepared by WFMZ-TV, the owners of the Chrin Landfill are seeking the DEP’s approval to expand the size of the landfill by more than 30 acres.
 
The proposal would have the landfill, which accepts about 1,500 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) per day, expanding in three directions from its current site.
 
The township’s governing board, which approved the expansion in January 2016, would accrue ongoing and additional tipping fee revenue if the landfill increases in size.
 
Some township residents, according to the WFMZ report, said increased residential development in Williams Township could mean the proposal “may no longer be in step with the times” and that the landfill is the source of unpleasant odors. The landfill’s environmental manager said the Chrin Landfill had opened in the early 1960s and had consistently met all engineering and environmental criteria.
 
The DEP is scheduled to release an environmental assessment letter in April 2016, followed by a public hearing.

Closer to Scranton, a public discussion of the proposed expansion of the Keystone Sanitary Landfill drew some 400 people, according to a news item prepared by the Scranton Times-Tribune.
 
The public forum was hosted by the Friends of Lackawanna and attended by the founder of a New York state-based group with roots tracing back to the Love Canal incident of the 1970s.
 
Keystone’s owners are seeking a 50-year landfill permit for the sizable facility, which caused Center for Health, Environment & Justice founder Lois Gibbs to say, “This is the largest landfill I have seen in my 37 years. I cannot imagine what it’s going to look like with a 50-year permit. ... I’ve never seen a 50-year permit,” according to the Times-Tribune.
 
The landfill is currently 335 acres in size and is asking for approval to grow to 435 acres.