Silver Run citizens demand voice in dump cleanup

November 24, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

A Silver Run citizens group, angry at the lack of progress in the cleanup of a nearby landfill suspected of polluting their water, last night demanded that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allow them a voice in the project.

About 75 residents -- from the Carroll County and Pennsylvania communities near the Keystone Sanitation Landfill -- attended the sometimes heated meeting with EPA officials at a church in Silver Run.

"We've been left out of the process," said Susan Hardinger, president of People Against Contamination of the Environment Inc. "We've put ourselves on the line. . . . We're tired of commenting and not getting anything back. We live here, you don't."

PACE, which has worked with county, state and federal agencies for a decade, asked EPA to allow community representatives -- one each from Maryland and Pennsylvania -- to attend all meetings concerning the cleanup of the Keystone dump in Union Township, Pa.

"We want someone there from the community each time you talk about our community," Mrs. Hardinger said.

Jeff Pike, an EPA staff supervisor involved in the $11 million Superfund cleanup, said he would pass on the request to his superiors today.

"I'm not aware of it being done before," he said. "I don't know how to answer tonight."

The EPA has been working with 12 polluters to cap a portion of the 35-acre landfill. Under agency orders, the polluters have hired a contractor to do the cleanup, something at least one resident compared to allowing a fox to pick eggs from a hen house.

David Turner, the former EPA project manager, said the cleanup will begin in 15 to 18 months. The work could take 18 months. The project also calls for the cleanup of ground water in the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania and Maryland. Contamination has been found in wells in both states.

"The [federal system] is broken," said Mary Minor, a Hanover, Pa. resident and member of a citizens' group there. "It's broken. We've got to fix it."

Elected and administrative officials from Maryland and Pennsylvania attended the meeting, but no elected federal officials did.

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