Date: July 14, 2006
Source: Pennsylvania DEP
Waste Management's Application Available for Public Review
The Department of Environmental Protection today announced that it will begin reviewing Waste Management's application for a permit to modify closure and post-closure plans for the company's Pottstown Landfill, located in West Pottsgrove Township, Montgomery County, and Douglass Township, Berks County. "We expect this proposal to update and consolidate existing plans will reflect the input of the Pottstown Landfill Closure Committee," DEP Southeast Regional Director Joseph Feola said. "As we review Waste Management's application, we'll be looking closely at how responsive the company has been to the work of this group."
In December 2003, DEP Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty called for Waste Management Inc. owners and operators of the Pottstown Landfill to begin community outreach about its closure plans and appropriate end uses for the 276-acre facility.
Over a 20-month period, representatives of Montgomery and Berks counties, Pottstown Borough, West Pottsgrove, Upper Pottsgrove and Douglass (Berks) townships met in a public forum convened by DEP that was designed to ensure the needs of the communities would be met in the closure and post-closure phases of the landfill. Officials from Waste Management regularly attended the meetings and participated in the process.
The first of its kind in the state, the closure committee used the input of agency and paid experts to help them draft a set of recommendations that would require the landfill's owners to go beyond compliance to protect human health and the environment. Its draft recommendations were presented to the public last September at a meeting at the Pottstown Middle School. Final recommendations were sent to DEP a month later.
At this time, there is no regulatory authority to require landfill owners to go beyond compliance during closure. Existing regulations outline requirements for the construction and maintenance of the cap and vegetative cover; leachate and gas collection and monitoring; water quality monitoring; erosion and sedimentation control; access control and a protocol for bonding.
The participants in the collaborative closure committee process, chaired by Montgomery County Commissioner Ruth Damsker, communicated their recommendations for additional monitoring and documentation to Waste Management, requesting their work be memorialized in a revised closure plan.
"We are looking forward to reviewing and sharing a modified landfill closure plan with the public that will continue to protect Pottstown area residents well into the future," Feola added.
After more than 32 years of operating under a department permit, the Pottstown Landfill stopped accepting waste on Oct. 2, 2005. Waste Management submitted its application for a revised closure plan to DEP on June 30.
Following an administrative review, copies were forwarded during the week of July 10 to the host municipalities, as well as to Pottstown Borough, Upper Pottsgrove Township, and Berks and Montgomery counties.
The public may review the application at the Pottstown Public Library, 500 High St., Pottstown; at DEP's Southeast Regional Office at 2 E. Main St., Norristown; or at any of the above-mentioned municipal or county offices that make public documents available for viewing.
For more information about the work of the closure committee and how the public can comment on Waste Management's application for a modified closure plan, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, Keyword: "Pottstown Landfill."
Phone: (484) 250-5808
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Dept. of Environmental Protection
Southeast Regional Office
2 East Main Street
Norristown, PA 19401