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EPA again rejects opening Keystone meetings


The Environmental Protection Agency last night again rejected a Silver Run group's request to attend meetings concerning the proposed cleanup of a nearby landfill suspected of polluting drinking water.

Donna Santiago, project manager, told about 45 people at a meeting at a Silver Run church that EPA would give reports each month about its meetings with the 11 polluters the agency has been working with to clean up the Keystone Sanitary Landfill, which is about a quarter-mile over the county line in Pennsylvania.

"Why is EPA so afraid to have one of our representatives there?" said Susan Hardinger, president of the citizens group People Against Contamination of the Environment.

"We want some input on what the end project will be."

Jeff Pike, an EPA staff supervisor involved in the cleanup, said EPA will hold a public hearing when 30 percent of the design work for the cleanup project is completed.

He said EPA will provide design documents on the proposed cleanup to the group.

"We will not do the design process out of public view," he said.

Mr. Pike said EPA didn't want citizens to attend meetings with the polluters because of concerns about "confidential information" and issues that are "enforcement-sensitive."

PACE has been pressing the EPA since last fall to allow members to attend meetings.

Keystone was named a Superfund site in 1987.

Pennsylvania residents found contamination in their wells about a decade ago. Silver Run residents found pollutants in their wells a year later.

Addressing other concerns, Ms. Santiago said signs will be posted at the landfill site when the cleanup begins.

Ms. Santiago said she was unsure what wording would be on the signs, other than language that would identify the landfill as a Superfund cleanup site and that would tell trespassers to keep out.

Ms. Santiago said EPA will begin this spring testing about 30 residential wells along Humbert Schoolhouse Road and Biemiller Road in Maryland, and Matthias Road, Clouser Road, Line Road and Chestnut Hill Road in Pennsylvania.

About 15 of the wells were tested in 1991 but none showed levels of contamination above safe drinking water standards.

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