- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) began air sampling and monitoring at three sites near Keystone Sanitary Landfill in Dunmore. The sampling is part of a three-month study to learn of contaminants that residents may be exposed to and breathing in from landfill emissions, according to a Department of Health press release.
- A total of 90 samples from the three locations will be analyzed for ammonia, volatile organic compounds, sulfur gas, methanol, aldehydes, methylamines, trimethylamines among toxic chemicals.
- The DEP is working with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) on this project to gather data for a health report available to the public, who will have a 30-day comment period. The public forum will be followed by distribution of a final report.
Keystone Landfill has been surrounded with contention over a few issues, with environmental advocates fighting its expansion and charging that, since the site sits on top of old mines, its stability is questionable. Opponents to extension proposals also question how the local government would deal with potential negative impacts, claiming the sight already received too much out-of-state garbage.
Now the state and federal governments are having to answer to the public on the newest public health and environmental concerns and are implementing a systemic, science-based approach to get definitive answers. This research is intended to yield a representative picture about the air quality near the landfill, and the results will be evaluated and weighed in with other environmental exposure information.
Health Secretary Karen Murphy says that the public’s welfare and keeping residents informed is a top priority.
"As with all matters of public health, we are taking concerns about air quality around the Keystone Landfill very seriously," said Murphy in a press release. "Later this year, we will share the data with the community and engage residents in a conversation about the results."