JULY 2008

Pennsylvania DEP reaches agreement with salvage yard

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said an agreement with J&K Salvage in Spring Garden Township, York County, will address local citizens’ concerns about the noise emanating from the automobile- and metal-recycling facility.

Since October 24, J&K has reported 12 concussions at the salvage yard along Kings Mill Road. Local residents say the noise from the concussions is frequent, excessive and creates a disturbance.

Loud reverberations, which are not uncommon at salvage yards, can occur when vehicles are put through a shredder, which breaks up the material into small pieces for recycling.

The concussions are the result of combustible fluids, such as gasoline and propane, getting into the shredder and being ignited by the extremely high temperatures. The noises can also be caused by combustible vapor trapped inside fuel tanks.

DEP has determined that the concussions are not a danger to the public or to J&K employees because the shredder’s design directs the force downward into a reinforced pit beneath the machinery.

To reduce the number of disturbances to the neighborhood, DEP has been working with the company to devise ways to limit combustible fluid and vapor from entering the shredder.

In an amendment to the original agreement, J&K has agreed not to shred gas tanks at the site.

The company has also agreed:

  • To remove gas tanks before shredding vehicles;
  • To drain fluids properly from the tanks. The fluid will then be stored in approved containers with the fumes vented;
  • To crush and ship the tanks off-site for further processing; and
  • To accept only propane tanks or other compressed gas cylinders with the regulator valve already removed.

DEP and J&K signed an initial consent order and agreement on October 12 that required improvements to gas tank removal methods and on-site material storage.

Since then, DEP has conducted multiple inspections of the site and has found that J&K has been following the terms of the agreement, including reducing piles of accumulated material and adopting best management practices for assuring batteries, fuel tanks and fluids are removed from the vehicles before being crushed.

As part of the order, DEP fined the company $12,000.