HAZLE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Residents who live near a coal mining operation in Luzerne County say their homes and properties are being consumed by coal dust and debris from the operation. They say the company is not doing enough to keep the area clean.
This story is unfolding in the tiny community of Jeanesville. It is near the Luzerne and Carbon County line. Residents say they are sick and tired of the coal dust and want something done about it once and for all.
The front of Juan Martinez’s home is covered in coal dust. He has power washed it several times in recent months.
“Well you could see I clean it one time and I look at it and it needs to be power washed again,” Martinez said.
Martinez’s home is located on Jeanesville Road about 25 yards from the entrance of the Atlantic Carbon Group coal mining operation. Trucks loaded with coal pass this way about 100 times a day. Just up the street, the Frailey family home is also covered in coal dust.
Kerri Gross of Jeanesville spoke on camera, asking for relief;
“Please clean our town up. You got to try and do something with these trucks,” said Gross.
Bob Frailey also spoke with Andy.
“It was never like this. It was never like this. It’s worse than it ever was,” Frailey said.
The company started using a street sweeper last year to clean the roads near the site and installed a truck wash on-site. All this is in the effort to reduce the amount of dust that leaves the property on these coal trucks.
Mike Basil is manager and safety director of the mining operation.
“Yes, we’ve been working on it consistently. Just this week, we’ve stone-paved our entryway and changed our trucks’ patterns to try to eliminate some of the haulage on-site and keep it more on the stone paving where there’s no mud,” Basil said.
Basil insists the company is committed to making things right.
“We are working on it very hard. We understand that we have to be good neighbors as well as they do in the community. We’re working very hard to try to eliminate the problem,” said Basil.
A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection told the I-Team that they too have received complaints about the dust and are working with the company to resolve these issues. The company could face fines if they are not resolved.