AUGUST 2010
                                        

Pennsylvania DEP OKs Alliance’s landfill assessment

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has approved the environmental assessment of Alliance Sanitary Landfill’s proposed expansion in Taylor Borough and Ransom Township, Lackawanna County.

The assessment represents the first phase of the department’s review of the proposal.

“Alliance documented that the environmental, social and economic benefits clearly outweighed the potential environmental harms. As such, we have approved this first phase of their expansion application,” said Northeast regional director Michael Bedrin. “This is only the first step in the process. A comprehensive review of the engineering and technical aspects of their application will now begin.”

Alliance Landfill applied for an 87.3 acre expansion of its lined disposal area and an increase in its average daily volume from 2,000 tons per day to 4,000 tons per day.

DEP held a public hearing on the environmental assessment, also known as the harms/benefits analysis in January.

The assessment process requires landfills to provide a detailed analysis that describes the proposed facility’s potential impact on the environment, public health and public safety; and the known and potential harms of the proposed project.

The analysis must include a written mitigation plan that explains how the landfill will deal with each known or potential harm, as well as the extent to which any known or potential harms will remain after mitigation. It must also demonstrate that the benefits to the public clearly outweigh the project’s known and potential harms.

In approving the Alliance assessment, DEP evaluated the social and economic benefits to the municipalities and found that the benefits included: free waste disposal; recycling and environmental education programs; the landfill’s support for watershed and community groups; and the host municipality agreements with Taylor Borough and Ransom Township.

The potential environmental impacts identified during the application’s review included dust and odors, diminished aesthetics, additional noise and litter, improperly contained truck loads, and general transportation issues, among others.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) evaluated air monitoring data from DEP and Alliance, and recently concluded that the landfill would not be expected to harm the public’s health.

The environmental assessment approval does not authorize changes to the landfill’s permit. That decision will be made based on the company’s ability to meet the department’s solid waste engineering and technical regulations.