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Area residents voice concerns over landfill

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THROOP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Economic benefits versus potential health risks, that’s been the battle people living near the keystone sanitary landfill have been fighting.

The Department of Health has been tracking issues near the dump in Lackawanna County. Tonight, the public heard their findings.

After reporting on a two year study, the DoH say there is no major health risk as the landfill sits right now.

Nearly 200 residents of Throop and Dunmore wanted to hear what the Department of Health had to say about the air coming from the Keystone Sanitary Landfill.

Pat Clark of the group “Friends of Lackawanna” said, “What did it actually find and what are the concerns and most importantly what are the risks moving forward?”

Some call the landfill an eyesore with a chemical smell.

Twice in 2015 and once in 2016 the DoH conducted air monitoring three months at a time. They found spikes of chemicals in the air.

Of the health risks involved with those spikes, PA Department of Health representative Sharon Watkins said, “Short term transitory health effects. Maybe like a headache or eye iteration or throat iteration. “

The study was pushed by advocates against expanding the landfill up or out.

“What they’re looking to do is triple the landfill in size, if you do the math over time it’s not going to get smaller and the health concerns are not going to get less” said Clark.

Albert Magnotta, a keystone consultant, said “They didn’t correlate the wind direction and the consideration of the particular. So, there is no way that they can even remotely say they came from keystone.”

Without doubt the DoH says their findings come from the landfill.

Many who work, live, and breathe near the ‘fill are worried about young students.

“(Kids) trying to enjoy a simple day at recess while their eyes tear and they struggle to breath should be appalling to everyone in this room” said Danna Dixon, a secretary on the Mid Valley School Board.

Before the study residents asked about the cancer risk.

The department of health says there is no risk to the deadly disease short or long term.

The department of environmental protection is continuing to accept public comment through February 14th. The answers will be provided in its final document in June.

To submit a question DEP will take public comment on their website. 

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