The Environmental Protection Agency has found 10 Pennsylvania companies liable for contamination of Keystone Landfill and ordered them tocome up with a plan by Aug. 21 to cap the facility and clean surrounding ground water.
Silver Run residents near the landfill have gotten offers from a geology firm working for Alloy Rods Corp., one of the 10 companies named by the EPA, to test for metal concentrations intheir wells.
In June, the EPA found the companies liable for contamination of the Union Township, Pa., landfill and surrounding ground water, said EPA lawyer James T. Heenehan.
If the 10 companies agree, work on the estimated $11 million project could start next summer, said Deborah Dewsbury, EPA project manager.
"I'm always happy to hear the process has moved along, but I'm always disappointed it takes so long toget things done," said Susan Hardinger, president of People Against Contamination of the Environment citizens group.
The companies would hire a contractor to plan and carry out the cleanup, with each step subject to review by EPA engineers, Heenehan said. If they don't comply, EPA can have the work done and sue the companies for reimbursement.
Contamination was noticed by Pennsylvania environmental agents during routine testing in 1982. Some ground water has shown contamination in Silver Run, just across the state line.
Dewsbury is awaiting EPA tests to see whether any residential well contamination is due to Keystone. Hardinger said homeowners have had county and privatetesting done that they say shows the same chemicals, such as volatile organic compounds, found in the landfill.
Franklin Kury, the lawyer for Keystone Sanitation Co. owners Kenneth and Anna Noel, said his clients will respond by Aug. 21.
"We are all talking to each other," Kury said of the companies "We aren't going to make a decision (on what to do) until we finish all this exploration."
Named in theorder are Keystone Sanitation Co. Inc. and Kenneth and Anna Noel of Union Township; Arcata Graphics Fairfield Inc., Fairfield, Pa; Alloy Rods Corp., Hanover; C & J Clark America Inc., owner of Hanover Shoe Co; Emeco Industries Inc., Hanover; The Genlyte Group, owner of Craftlite Inc. in Littlestown, Pa.; Hanover Bronze and Aluminum Foundry Inc.; Kemper Industries Inc., owner of Lee Metal Products Inc., Littlestown; R. H. Sheppard Co. Inc., Hanover; and SKF USA Inc., owner of SKF Bearings Industries Co., Hanover.
The EPA is negotiating with nine other companies and municipalities to pay a smaller settlement in exchange for freedom from future EPA action. Those nine Keystone customers dumped smaller amounts or less hazardous waste than the partiesin the latest order.
Hardinger wants the EPA to look not just at small companies in the region, but also at large, out-of-state Keystone customers.
"I sympathize with the companies that have been named, because I know they will end up bearing other companies' burdens,"Hardinger said.
Heenehan said the EPA is investigating other companies and may add them to the order.
William L. Leonard, of the 500 block of Humbert Schoolhouse Road, said he has accepted an offer from the Harrisburg firm of Geo Services Ltd. to test his water.
Previous tests have found no contamination, said Leonard.
Leonard said the offer, in a letter dated June 10, says Geo Services was hired by Alloy Rods to "conduct an analysis of metal concentrations of ground water surrounding Keystone Landfill."
Hardinger, of the 1100 block of Humbert Schoolhouse Road, said she did not get a letter, but said other neighbors who did are questioning the motive.
"On our road, people are skeptical," said Hardinger. "Of course, anybody whose water already has been shown to be contaminated didn't get a letter."