Sen. Mikulski to mediate in dispute over landfill

January 24, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski's office will act as a mediator in the dispute between a Silver Run citizens' group concerned with the cleanup of a nearby landfill and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Bill Toohey, the Maryland Democrat's press secretary, said the senator's office will keep People Against Contamination of the Environment, Inc. (PACE) informed about cleanup efforts for the Keystone Sanitation Landfill in nearby Union Township, Pa., which is suspected of contaminating their wells.

"We have started a process that will make sure the community and the EPA will be in touch with one another," said Mr. Toohey, who is

settling into his new job after five days.

"We are prepared to do two things," Mr. Toohey said. "One, we'll make sure the community knows what is going on, and two, we'll make sure something is going on with the project."

Representatives from the Silver Run citizens' group met with members of the senator's staff Friday in Washington to solve some of the problems involving the EPA's clean up of the landfill, located about a quarter-mile over the state line in Pennsylvania.

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

No cleanup work has begun at the 35-acre landfill, which was named a Superfund cleanup site in 1987.

The EPA rebuffed PACE members recently, saying it would not let residents affected by the contamination attend meetings regarding the proposed cleanup. That angered the citizens' group and caused its leaders to seek help from Ms. Mikulski.

"My understanding is that the group felt left out of the loop, to use a cliche," Mr. Toohey said. "We will make sure that the information flows from the project to the community. The community will not be ignored or shoved to the side."

Mr. Toohey said he did not know whether residents would be allowed to attend EPA meetings regarding the cleanup efforts, but said there would be regular meetings between the community, the EPA and the companies involved in the cleanup.

"We will continue communicating with the EPA to get the status on the project and with the community . . .," Mr. Toohey said.

PACE representatives who attended the meeting could not be reached for comment.

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