CLEARFIELD – Almost 15 years later, residents are still willing to fight against the proposed Camp Hope Run landfill.
A group of residents attended Thursday’s Clearfield Borough Council meeting to encourage the council to support Clearfield County’s fight against the landfill.
First to speak was Marv Smith. Smith said around 14 or 15 years ago, this same group of individuals began working to oppose the landfill. He said the group has been very vocal in telling the Department of Environmental Protection that they do not want the proposed landfill, which will be located in Boggs Township.
Smith said the Clearfield County Commissioners have said they are going to appeal DEP’s decision to grant the permits for the landfill. However, Smith said the appeal is going to cost the county between $100,000-$200,000.
Smith said after speaking with other attorneys, the appeals process could last one or two years, and that cost could be even greater. Smith said he knows the borough is operating on a tight budget but asked if the council could manage to help the county pay for the appeal.
Smith said he was also going to go to the Lawrence Township Supervisors to ask for their financial help as well.
Smith said if the borough and the township were willing to help, he would start a fundraising campaign. He said any money he and his group raised would be put in an account to be used strictly to fight against the landfill.
Next to speak was Jim Catalano, a resident of Boggs Township, who appealed to the council members who were employed by the schools.
He said the officials involved with the landfill have told residents that if the landfill opens, it will mean an additional 250 trucks traveling from Interstate 80 and traveling through Lawrence Township and residential areas along Route 153 to get to the site where the landfill will be built.
He said along this proposed route are school bus stops. He said there are four buses and four vans that will be traveling along the same route. He said his greatest concern is if one of the trucks gets into an accident involving one of the buses or vans.
He also said he has spoken to residents in another town where a landfill had been located. He said those residents warned him to do everything possible to prevent the landfill.
Catalano said the residents told him that once the permits are issued, the dump will be “sold to the highest bidder.” He said the residents told him that any “promises” made by those proposing the dump may not be honored by those who actually build and operate the dump.
He said the residents told him that they had been promised police patrols to control traffic in and out of the landfill, a playground for the children and fire protection, but none of those “promises” were kept.
Catalano urged the school employees on the council to speak with the teacher’s unions, not only in the Clearfield Area School District, but also with unions in the Moshannon Valley Area School District, and other school districts who may be impacted by the landfill.
“We need all the support we can get,” Catalano said.
Carl Condon, also of Boggs Township, said he lives on one of the “hot spots” along the proposed truck route, near Litz Bridge. He said two years ago, on three different days, at different times of the day, he counted traffic passing through the area.
He said on the first day, between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., he counted 320 passenger vehicles and 56 trucks. On the second day, between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., he counted 584 passenger vehicles and 29 trucks.
On the third day, between 10:30 a.m. and noon, he counted 317 passenger vehicles and 46 trucks. He said if the proposed landfill is put into operation, that will be adding at least 250 trucks, going both to and from the landfill to those numbers.
Condon said there are several areas along the route where it is difficult to see a bus or a van that is stopping to pick children. He said he also followed a coal truck, which was passing through the area. He said the entire time, the truck did not travel less than 60 miles per hour.
Bruce Bliss then added that over the past 14 years, there have been six fatalities along the proposed route. He said he fears for what will happen if 250 trucks are traveling along the route.
He said that while the officials with the landfill have said it will be only 250, it could very easily be twice that. Bliss also said that the proposed double-liner in the landfill is permitted to have two defaults, or breaks in the liner, for every two acres of land.
He said the landfill is proposed to be 217 lined acres, which means they can legally have 434 “breaks” in the entire liner. He said if the dump is built, it will lower property values in the surrounding areas between 10-20 percent.
Last to speak was Phil Carr. Carr said the residents have been through a similar situation with a smaller landfill, that only operated for about six years. Carr said the traffic and smells from the landfill and the trucks was “terrible” especially during the summer months.
He said the roads were often covered with brown stains from the fluids leaking out of the trucks. He said between the fluids and the particles in the air, he often wondered what he and his family were being exposed to. He said the Camp Hope Run landfill will be even bigger.
He said while there would be some financial benefits to the municipalities the landfill is operating in, the impact on the entire area, from Interstate 80 to the actual landfill far outweigh any financial gain.
Carr stressed that a lot of time, money and effort has gone into cleaning up and improving the quality of Clearfield Creek. He said with 434 “breaks” permitted in the liner, that will allow a lot of leachate to leak into the ground and surrounding water.
The council voted unanimously to support the county’s appeal. While the motion did not include financial support at this time, the council said they’d be willing to consider a financial contribution when preparing the 2021 budget.
According to previously-published GANT News articles, on Jan. 28, DEP agreed to issue a permit to PA Waste LLC for the landfill. The Clearfield County Commissioners voted to have their attorney appeal the decision.
According to previous articles, PA Waste is proposing a 5,000 tons per day, double-lined, municipal waste landfill. The proposed landfill and supporting facilities will be located within an 845-acre facility boundary.
The proposed landfill and supporting facilities will be located about seven miles southeast of Clearfield, along the west side of state Route 153 in Boggs Township.
The waste disposal limits will encompass about 217 acres, with support facilities and buffer areas within the remainder of the overall facility boundary.