Letter to the Editor: Kutztown Quarry Public Hearing to be held Aug. 10

Dear Editor:

As a follow-up to your June 16 article about the proposed expansion of the Kutztown Quarry on Hinterleiter Road, I want to inform your readers that the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) District Mining has scheduled a Public Hearing for Wednesday, Aug. 10, at the Kutztown Middle School. There will be an informal question and answer period from 6 to 6:30 pm. The public hearing on this matter will start at 6:30 p.m.

Also, I want to remind your readers of some basic information on this issue.

The new owner of the Kutztown Quarry, New Enterprise Stone & Lime Company (NESL), wants to expand their mining operation. The current DEP permit for the Kutztown Quarry allows for the discharge of mine water into the Saucony Creek at a maximum rate of 5,000 gallons per minute or 7,200,000 gallons per day. At this rate of discharge for the mine water, the quarry would be withdrawing (pumping out) approximately 69 percent of the available groundwater recharge from our local aquifer.

Recently, NESL applied for a revision to their DEP permit asking to increase the amount of discharged mine water to a maximum rate of 8,000 gallons per minute or 11,520,000 gallons per day. If this increased rate of discharge for the mine water is permitted, the quarry would be withdrawing (pumping out) more than the amount of groundwater available in our local aquifer, which is estimated to be 10,400,000 gallons per day. The water supply for Kutztown Borough and the surrounding areas (Kutztown University, Lyons Borough, Maxatawny Township and East Penn Manufacturing Corporation) is taken from the same local aquifer.

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Out of concern for the different risks to our water supply and potential negative impacts to the surrounding area, the Kutztown Borough Council voted unanimously to OPPOSE this application for a revised DEP permit. Some of the risks mentioned were overpumping the aquifer itself (exceeding the aquifer’s recharge capacity), an increase in the number of sinkholes in the area, damaging the aquatic ecosystem of the Saucony Creek by the increased amount of water and amount of pollutants, changing the floodplain of the Kutztown Borough, lowering the water table in the area (private wells going dry), etc.

Please attend this public hearing on Aug. 10 and speak up for the future of your community! We must protect our sole source aquifer!

Thank you!

Lisa Ladd-Kidder, Kutztown Resident

(Concerned residents may still submit “comment letters” to: Mr. Michael Menghini, DEP District Mining Manager, 5 West Laurel Blvd., Pottsville, PA 17901. Residents are asked to include the mining Permit No. 7774SM3C11 and NPDES No. PA 224499 in their letters.)