The DEP gave Keystone the greenlight to expand on 435 acres within the existing permitted area of the landfill in the boroughs of Dunmore and Throop. Keystone is also approved to increase disposal capacity by 145 million cubic yards. Keystone applied for expansion in 2014 “This application has generated a large amount of public interest, and we appreciate the involvement of those who feel this decision will impact them. We received more than a thousand public comments,” said Mike Bedrin, director of DEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre. “DEP has done a thorough and extensive review of the application and determined that it meets the regulatory requirements for approval.”
“We believe we run the best landfill in the United States. We work at it every day. We spend a lot of money in inspection and monitoring and compliance. Our compliance history will compare with anybody,” Keystone Landfill consultant Al Magnotta said.
During public hearings, locals claimed the landfill, which lies in a residential area, is harmful enough as it is. “2,500 tons of radioactive drill cuttings a day on the landfill with the water leaching through it and going into our sewer system, which backs up into our homes by the way. And now they’ve decided to triple it? And triple the harms to our community?” Dempsey said.
In a release, the Department of Health says they have conducted environmental tests and “concluded that no long-term public health risk exists for residents living near the landfill”. However, the DEP added special conditions to the expansion approval based on their recommendations, such as monitoring air quality, sub-surface gas, and leachate. The decision to allow for the expansion to go forward drew immediate criticism from U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D, PA).