State DEP to conduct fly ash public hearing in Forward Township

By THE DAILY NEWS The state Department of Environmental Protection has slated a public meeting and hearing to accept public comments on a plan to remove the remaining fly ash from a January 2005 ash slide in Forward Township . Next Thursdays informational meeting at the Gallatin Sunnyside Fire Hall will begin at 6 p.m., and a public hearing, at which comments can be presented on the record, will follow immediately afterward. According to a release from the DEP, recent logging activity through a steep-sided ravine in the area has exposed remnant ash in an uninhabited section of the township . The concern is that, with the trees removed, runoff from the slopes could carry ash into a stream channel that runs along Rostosky Ridge Road. In December, DEP identified West Penn Power and Westmoreland County Municipal Authority as the responsible parties for an ash slide three years earlier that sent thousands of tons of the


material into a township neighborhood. In June, the DEP determined that the material constituted a hazardous substance but said it doesn't pose a long term health risk to people. At a Forward Township supervisors meeting Thursday, Supervisor Thomas Headley noted the upcoming public meeting and said township officials would attend. Fly ash is produced by burning coal, and is classified by the state as residual or non-hazardous industrial waste. The ash in Forward was produced at the Mitchell Power Station in the 1960s. The Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act authorizes the DEP to pay for the removal of the remaining ash and recover the cost for the clean-up from the responsible parties at a later time, according to the DEP . The fire hall is at 3325 Rainbow Run Road in Forward Township .

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