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This “No Radioactive Trash Mountain” sign was created by the Citizens’ Environmental Association of the Slippery Rock Area to protest potentially radioactive waste being deposited by Tri-County Industries at a landfill in Pine and Liberty townships.

 

GROVE CITY — The Citizens’ Environmental Association of the Slippery Rock Area Inc. is hosting a program to share updates about the landfill being proposed by Tri-County Industries Inc.

“Our Radioactive Landfill” will be held at 7 p.m. July 29 at the Grove City borough building, 123 W. Main St., Grove City, according to a news release from the organization, also known as CEASRA.

There will be guest speakers from other parts of Pennsylvania who have experienced the effects of radioactive waste in their communities.

CEASRA and community members have voiced concerns for a number of years about TCI’s plans to reopen a landfill on property the company owns in Liberty and Pine townships.

The company has submitted permit applications multiple times to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and the most recent one was approved in late 2020.

As TCI continues to make its way through the rest of the permitting process, CEASRA wants to make residents aware of the potential dangers they believe the landfill presents, like radioactive fracking waste.

The presentation will include information from DEP about how Vogel Holding Inc., which owns the TCI property, has dumped radioactive leachate from its Seneca landfill into the Connoquenessing Creek, CEASRA members said.

TCI’s permit application for the new landfill notes that the leachate — which is liquid from landfill waste — will be similar to leachate at the Seneca landfill, said Jane Cleary, CEASRA member.

Radioactive waste has become a huge problem for Pennsylvania residents, as most landfills are permitted to accept radioactive fracking waste.

Dust from the waste can be airborne and inhaled, leading to serious health conditions like bone cancer, especially in children, she said.

There is no easy way to remove the radioactivity from the liquid nor the landfill, and Dr. Julie Weatherington-Rice, a soil scientist at Ohio State University, has said that a landfill with fracking waste is a “permanent reactor near your house” with the same cancer-causing radon levels 500 years from now.

An open records request filed with the DEP in 2021 by the Public Herald revealed that Covanta Environmental Solutions, a centralized waste treatment plant operating from New Castle, “treats” radioactive fracking waste through a DEP permit, Cleary said.

Samples from a DEP study documenting radioactive waste in Pennsylvania show that Covanta’s system produces four times as much radioactive material after treatment.

That output is known as “technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material,” meaning that the materials are the result of human activities.

The Public Herald found that nearly all landfill leachate in Pennsylvania is sent to publicly-owned treatment plants that cannot filter out radioactive materials before it’s discharged into waterways, Cleary said.

A 2018 study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency showed that such treatment processes are not effective at removing all types of pollutants in oil and gas wastewater.

CEASRA and Liberty Township are appealing the TCI landfill permit before the Environmental Hearing Board in hopes of overturning DEP’s decision, she said.

For more information about CEASRA, visit the organization’s Facebook page or send an email to ceasra@zoominternet.net

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