By Kaylee Lindenmuth | email@example.com
SHENANDOAH - PP&L Electric Utilities is continuing their remediation project regarding the former Shenandoah Gas Works on the southside later this year.
The Sentinel broke the story in May 2018, when PP&L sent letters to landowners in the area, and has been the only local news source following the developments since the beginning.
Since then, PP&L has been investigating the environmental impacts of the former manufactured gas plant, which was located where Burger King stands today and operated from the late 1800s to the 1950s. The plant was operated by a predecessor company to PP&L.
In early 2019, the company purchased a large portion of the block bounded by Laurel, Market, Poplar, and White Streets east of Burger King, and in late August, demolished the entire portion.
The utility company says its efforts are to evaluate the "extent of impacts from coal tar, coal tar residues and oils in the soil, and groundwater at the site and in the immediate vicinity." Coal tar was a byproduct created by the former facility, which heated coal to produce gas.
"PPL is committed to public safety, the safety of our workers, and the protection of the environment," Carol Obando-Derstine,Regional Affairs Director for PP&L, told the Sentinel in 2019. "At this time, there are no known elevated public health or safety concerns associated with the historical MGP site. The Borough of Shenandoah public water supply is not affected by impacts from the MGP site."
The work, set to begin in the first quarter of this year, pending receipt of necessary state approvals, will mark the third phase of the project.
"All work is being performed in accordance with applicable Pennsylvania regulations, including Pennsylvania’s Land Recycling Program (Act 2), and with full engagement of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP)," said Patrick Lester, PPL communications specialist. "As for the future of the properties, once the work is completed, we will apply grass seed on the land until the future of the property is determined based on discussions with the borough."
"I've had contact with them. They told us what they're doing," said then-borough council President Leo Pietkiewicz in 2019. "Coal tar leached into the ground, they did their testing, found out to the extent where it leached. They're removing all that and will backfill it."
"They will meet with us about specifications and what purpose we want to use it for," Pietkiewicz added. "Can we use it for a park, or housing, but we would have to fund that part. They would set up the ground, when it's finally reclaimed, to our specifications."
PP&L did not specify what type of work would be undertaken in Phase 3, or what disruption, if any,, such as a road closure it may cause in the neighborhood.
NEWS FROM YOUR TOWN
-East Union Township
-North Union Township
-West Mahanoy Township
-Beyond Northern Schuylkill