By Kaylee Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - The monthly meeting of Shenandoah borough council held Monday began with a presentation which dealt with the cause of a recent odor in the borough and the surrounding area.
Andrew Drumheller, a project manager with Lehigh Engineering and American Green Corporation, Pottsville, explained the process of reclamation activities south and west of the borough of Shenandoah. Both companies are a part of the Rich Family of Companies, which also includes Reading Anthracite and Schuylkill Energy Resources.
Drumheller explained to borough council and the public that two methods of reclamation are used, which he explained as typical land application, and a hybrid poplar method.
In the land application method, grasses are grown on the site, and in the hybrid poplar method, trenches are dug and trees are planted, according to Drumheller. Biosolids are used in both methods.
"Something we always say is that it is temporary," said Drumheller, noting their reclamation activities began behind Schuylkill Energy Resources, Yatesville, around 2002.
"Typically, we don't have odors," added Drumheller. "The recent issue, we brought in a new source, the source was odorous, so we stopped receiving that source. We covered the pile and have been covering the pile with ash and lime."
Drumheller noted that the company has a patent for using coal ash to control odors, and that they had build up a crust to control the odor.
"I think we've done a lot better. The odors have been a lot better," said Drumheller. "Another issue we've had is flies, so we've contracted with a local pest control company, and we're going to have the pile sprayed."
Drumheller added that a handling plan is being put together for the Department of Environmental Protection, noting the company is trying to be "as proactive as possible."
"We always try and stress, too, that this reclamation activity, it's not like agriculture activity where it's every year," said Drumheller. "We land-apply once, and we're done."
Charlie Vascavage, Shenandoah, asked where the biosolids originated.
"We have multiple sources. Some of it's local," said Drumheller, noting that they have about seven total. "The local ones being Frackville, Minersville, Pine Grove, and then we have a couple that are farther away. "
Drumheller noted that the eliminated source originated from Little Patuxent, Maryland.
"For us to land-apply any of this material, it already has to have a permit issued by the state to be land-applied," said Drumheller. "Every source of biosolids that we bring in is already permitted at the source."
Councilwoman Katie Catizone raised concerns about the use of biosolids.
"I'm personally concerned for the airborne and gastrointestinal health risks from the fact that it was left uncovered, so I would really hope that, in the event you do something anywhere near our community again, I would like to not see it left uncovered," said Catizone.
"Typically, we like to use the material before we create a storage pile, but, right now, our crews are busy--" said Drumheller.
"I'm sure you are busy, but I'm also sure that if they left a 20-foot pile of biosolids outside your neighborhood in a heat wave with dampness like this, that your neighbors would not be very happy about it," said Catizone.
Catizone and Mayor Andrew Szczyglak noted that the last time the odor was significant in the borough, that they noticed, was July 4.
Catizone asked about if out-of-state sources required and acquire a PA Department of Environmental Protection, to which Drumheller said they do.
Donna Gawrylik asked where the operation is, to which Drumheller said it was to the west of the coal overpass over Route 54.
Drumheller reiterated, in response to a resident, that the odorous source was cut off.
"We did that as soon as we had the problem," said Drumheller.