UPDATE: Feb. 5, 2020: Commissioners in Clearfield County voted unanimously this week to appeal the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's permit approval for a new landfill by PA Waste. As reported by The Progress, major community concerns include effects on local environmental quality as well as increased truck traffic.
- PA Waste LLC has received permits for a new MSW landfill in Boggs Township, Pennsylvania with an expected lifespan of 21 years. The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued the permits following a public hearing this month, GANT News reported. PA Waste is expected to begin construction in the next six to 12 months.
- Camp Hope Run, the proposed Clearfield County landfill, would take 5,000 tons of MSW per day, with the double-lined site and supporting facilities located on a 845-acre area. Disposal would be confined to 217 acres, with a 27 million ton capacity. The area is a brownfield site previously strip mined for coal in the 1990s.
- In response to a request for comment from Waste Dive, DEP shared a press release stating "all requirements have been met" on the part of PA Waste, and that DEP carefully reviewed the proposal and took note of public sentiment as well as potential environmental impacts. County commissioners have indicated they intend to appeal, which could result in a lengthy fight over the process.
Pennsylvania is among the more landfill-friendly states and was once described as having the second-most landfills per capita in the country after Nevada. But tensions over Camp Hope Run have been ongoing since 2006, as locals and county officials have questioned the need for a new landfill.
Per DEP data, some of the nearest landfills include the Greentree Landfill operated by Advanced Disposal Services and the Wayne Township Landfill owned by the Clinton County Solid Waste Authority. A new landfill would offer a closer option for waste disposal for neighboring areas like Centre County, which has no landfills of its own.
PA Waste is a limited liability company headed by Robert Rovner, a former state senator, and Ramsey Dilibero, a landfill developer. In 2013, a technical review portion of the application process found 71 deficiencies, ultimately leading to the application's rejection in 2015. For its latest attempt at gaining approval, the company submitted its Phase 1 application in July 2017 and Phase II application in February 2018.
Officials with Boggs Township declined to comment on the landfill to Waste Dive. But during a July 2018 DEP public meeting, more than 30 people objected to the site's construction. They expressed concerns over truck traffic, the possible termination of free recycling services and issues with the area's rattlesnake population. The reptiles live in that area and residents worry a disturbance could send them toward residential properties.
PA Waste representatives have pushed back, arguing the company will actually do the area an environmental service. In a website devoted to the landfill, PA Waste underscored the site's history as a brownfield site. Those areas often have pre-existing contaminants and pollutants as a result of prior industrial activity. PA Waste states the proposed area for the landfill has ground and surface water affected by acid drainage from strip mining.
"The Camp Hope Run Landfill has been designed to collect, treat, mitigate and eliminate existing acid mine drainage discharges," the company asserts.
The company also argued the project will be financially beneficial for the area in a release circulated by PA Waste and shared with Waste Dive. The landfill "is expected to employ approximately 20 full-time employees with an estimated annual payroll of at least $712,000," PA Waste said.
The company estimates between 15 and 30 full-time and seasonal positions will be available relating to the landfill's construction, support, closure and post-closure needs. PA Waste will pay $2 per ton in host fees to Boggs Township, leading to an estimated $54 million in revenue for the area throughout the facility's operating life.
But Clearfield County commissioners appear unconvinced. The county did not reply to a request for comment from Waste Dive, but Commissioner Antonio Scotto told local news officials will be opposing the permit. They have 30 days to appeal the decision.