Wednesday night the Rostraver Commissioners rejected Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill’s plan to move forward with a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) mobile filling and compressor station at the facility after hearing residents express health concerns. “The Commissioners took a big step forward in repairing their relationship with those impacted residents,” said Gillian Graber, executive director of Protect PT.
As a result of this decision, Protect PT will be conducting a health survey to assess the extent of health impacts to residents living near the Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill.
On July 26, PA Department of Environmental Protection announced they will require testing of leachate to include radium-226 and radium-228 later this year. These tests for radiological contaminants will be required quarterly, according to the department’s statement. “We think there are several pollution streams from the landfill that could be contributing to resident health impacts,” said Graber. “We are grateful to the Attorney General’s Office for urging the governor to take seriously the health concerns of residents living next to facilities that are accepting oil and gas waste. While we celebrate the local government stepping up to protect the people, we call on our PA DEP to take swift action to do the same by not allowing new permits to move forward, like the leachate evaporator proposed back in 2020.”
In October 2020, Protect PT conducted a Community Survey asking residents about their impacts from the Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill. The survey revealed that 50 percent of residents surveyed lost faith in local government, 26 percent of residents surveyed noticed changes in their health and 37 percent of the residents considered the impacts from the landfill damaging to their families health.
Since February 2020 the landfill has been issued three Consent Orders due to outstanding violations at the facility. “We also ask the PA DEP to consider withdrawing permits for an operator that continually violates state and federal laws,” Graber said. Protect PT will begin its health survey by knocking on doors of area residents later this month.
About Protect PT: Protect Penn-Trafford is a citizen's group working to ensure the safety, security, and quality of life from the effects of unconventional gas development in Penn-Trafford and surrounding communities in Westmoreland and Allegheny Counties. Learn more at protectpt.org.