The Citizens Advisory Committee for the Conestoga Landfill met on March l8 at the administrative offices for the Conestoga Landfill on Quarry Road. The Citizens Advisory Committee acts as a local watchdog for the landfill. Members of the committee are from local citizens groups and townships. The committee meets four times a year. The next meeting is scheduled for June l7. The public is welcome and the committee is looking for a representative from the student body at Twin Valley High School. The meeting was directed by Tim Nytra, environmental manager, because General Manager Terry Cooney was in Pittsburgh on business.
John Ravert of the Berks County Conservation District has been elected president of the Committee. Questions came from members of the committee. John Ravert asked Tim Nytra why there was so much mud on the road. He said it would wash into the roads and streams. It appeared the mud and large pebbles were dragged on the wheels of trucks which were hauling dirt for landfill cover from another area. At the close of the meeting, John Ravert told Tim Nytra he had never seen things looking the way they were. He said the previous owners of the landfill would not permit things looking that way, referring to the mud on the road. He said it was unacceptable.
Tim Nytra responded they are in the process of repairing the truck wash. He said rainwater drains off into certain areas which causes water to accumulate causing muddy conditions and the trucks exiting carry out mud on the wheels. He said this condition is infrequent. John Ravert asked Tim Nytra if they were physically checking the tires and trucks for loose stones. Ravert told Nytra the wheels should be checked so as the trucks do not carry rocks onto the highways where they could be dislodged and be propelled through a windshield and maybe kill someone.
An area resident had smelled odors on Sunday, said John Ravert. Tim Nytra said the active surface was covered on Saturday. They are in the process of capping the side of the landfill towards Shiloh Road and route l76. They are drilling five gas extraction wells on the northeast side of the landfill. He said the trash was covered so the odor came from landfill gas.
A member of the committee asked about the status of several gas flares which have been moved to other locations. Nytra said they need five more gas extraction wells tied into the system to alleviate odors. The portable flares are temporary.
There is concern about whether trucks exiting the landfill have been swept out, said John Ravert. He said recently a truck which may have come from here left papers near the Penn State Berks Campus. "There is paper along the turnpike east bound. Make sure all of the refuse is cleaned from the trucks leaving the landfill and make sure they are tarped," added Ravert.
Tim Nytra said the landfill is not taking any sludge at this time. He said that it is permitted to take sludge but it is not a big percentage of the waste stream. He said odor control spraying systems will be located along Shiloh Road as soon as weather permits. All systems in use at the landfill have to comply with Department of Environmental Protection standards.
John Nytra asked if there were any maps available on construction plans. He said they are working in cell l3 and ten acres of it are being capped. Work will start on constructing cell l4 about April l. He said the disposal capacity of the landfill is 4 to 5 years with an intake of 5,000 tons of refuse a day. Compactors are used to roll down the rubbish, he said. They do a good job and can extend the life of the landfill. Cell 14 will be finished in August. It contains about eleven acres.
How will the sale of the borough to someone else effect the inspecting process of the landfill? Tim Nytra said Terry Cooney would have to answer that. DEP has put the application for expansion on hold because of complaints of odors. After August 31, 2004 a review will be made of complaints of odors, as Terry Cooney had said at a previous meeting. The area marked for expansion is a 154 acre tract on the other side of Shiloh Road. PennDOT would relocate Shiloh Road.
The methane gas generated by decomposing rubbish is going to be processed by Granger Electric and will be used to generate electricity. Terry Cooney had reported at a previous meeting that about ten percent of the electricity generated would be used at the landfill. Granger will have the option of selling the remainder to P. P. & L. According to Tim Nytra the agreement is signed, but he did not know Granger Electric's timetable for construction.
He said they are planning to have a place where local residents can bring trash from their yards to dump. The Lions Clubs pick up trash along the local highways once a year. There are plans to develop a system for local residents to take hazardous household wastes to the landfill for disposal. John Ravert said that the facility has to be of a permanent nature, so that hazardous materials are handled and disposed of properly.
The Conestoga landfill keeps detailed records of each day's activities. The DEP records every complaint of odors. Blazosky Associates' environmental engineers reported no odor violations in Feb., according to the consent order tied to limiting the daily tonnage of rubbish until Aug. 31, 2004. The consent order is tied to permitting the landfill to expand.
Blazosky Associates has developed an odor control plan. Surveys of the surrounding area to the landfill are taken several times a day. Details are available at the landfill office on Quarry Road.
The landfill management is taking very thorough measures as listed on a handout at the meeting, to control potential problems before they generate into bigger problems away from the landfill.
The Berks County Conservation District and the DEP monitor the activities of the landfill very closely. Some of the inspections made by the DEP are of daily operations, cover, slopes and vegetation, water quality protection, the liner system, leacheate treatment and water quality monitoring. Also record keeping, minerals and gases, emergency procedures and special handling and residual wastes.
During December 2003, the daily tonnage average was 4,891. The refuse came on 266 trucks daily. New York sent 29,000 tons of refuse and New Jersey sent 16,697 tons. 64,034 tons of rubbish came from Philadelphia and 10,161 tons from Montgomery County. Berks County sent 10,144 tons. There were no violations. Leacheate amounting to 1,840,607 gallons was generated from the landfill. Leacheate amounting to 756,854 was hauled out for treatment on 120 trucks. 616,240 gallons of treated leacheate was discharged.
During January, 116,600 tons of refuse was dumped at the landfill. It came on a daily average of 245 trucks. There were 24,963 tons from New York and 11,214 tons from New Jersey. There were small amounts from Connecticut and Maryland. Philadelphia sent 58,878 tons of rubbish, Montgomery County sent 7,777. Berks sent 11,106 and Chester County 1,979 tons. Smaller amounts came from six other local counties. There were three complaints. 578,861 gallons of leacheate were generated at the landfill. Leacheate amounting to 238,793 gallons was treated and discharged.
In February, 115,676 tons came to the landfill on a daily average of 4,820 tons. There were an average of 269 trucks a day. New York sent 27,171 tons of rubbish, while 8,129 tons arrived from New jersey. Philadelphia sent 60,825 tons, Berks County 9,241, Chester County 1,330 and Montgomery County delivered 8,252 tons. The remainder came from six other local counties. There were no complaints. Leacheate amounting to 1,762,363 gallons was generated from the landfill. 928,700 gallons were hauled out for treatment in l47 trucks. Concentrate amounting to 75,025 gallons was hauled out on l2 trucks. 391,814 gallons of treated leacheate was discharged into the eastern branch of the Conestoga Creek.