Landfill group readies for meeting with senator PACE seeks role in EPA cleanup

January 19, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

A Silver Run citizens group will press U.S. Sen. Barbar Mikulski to allow them a greater role in the Environmental Protection Agency's cleanup of a nearby landfill they suspect is contaminating their water, officials of the group said last night.

People Against Contamination of the Environment Inc. (PACE) met last night to prepare for a Friday meeting in Washington with the Maryland Democrat. The meeting is prompted by PACE's frustration and weariness in dealing with the EPA.

Also attending the meeting will be EPA officials, as well as state Sen. Larry E. Haines, R-Carroll, Baltimore, and state Del. Donald B. Elliott, R-Carroll, Howard.

PACE plans to tell the senator that the EPA has been slow in its cleanup of the Keystone Sanitary Landfill, which is located about a quarter-mile over the county line in Pennsylvania. Keystone was named a Superfund site in 1987.

"We want representation," said Susan Hardinger, PACE president, who will be among the group's three representatives at Friday's meeting. "It's real ironic that we live in a democracy and our request to be at their meetings made them go 'aaahhh.'

"There's nobody there looking out for our community."

Also representing PACE at the Friday meeting will be Silver Run residents Julius Houff and Julian Hall.

During a sometimes heated meeting in November, PACE asked the EPA to allow Pennsylvania and Maryland representatives to attend meetings regarding the cleanup. The EPA has been working with 11 polluters to develop a plan for capping part of the landfill.

But the EPA later denied the group's request because community groups have never played such a role in the process before, and information discussed during those meetings may be sensitive.

PACE members said last night that they will reiterate to Ms. Mikulski their desires for monthly communication between the EPA and the community; better informed project managers who oversee the cleanup; testing of all residential and commercial wells within a two-mile radius of Keystone; and for the EPA to "stick to a reasonable, common-sense timetable for the cleanup."

No cleanup work has begun at the 35-acre landfill.

Pennsylvania residents found contaminants in their wells about a decade ago. A year later, Silver Run residents found similar contaminants in their wells.

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