What environmental concerns are left for new Wilkes-Barre Area site?

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PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)– Coal and flying ash are chief among the public concerns when it comes to the location of the upcoming home of the Wolfpack. Groups like Wilkes-Barre Area ‘Save Our Schools’ got a chance — as they have online for months — to voice those concerns to the school board.

It’s no secret that the Wilkes-Barre Area School District and the Apollo Group have been plugging away in Plains Township on a massive project to consolidate Meyers, Coughlin and GAR High Schools. It’s also no secret that there has been public criticism of the consolidation and the new school site every step of the way.

While the public comment portion of the November school board meeting was relatively muted, online posts continue to bring attention to the environmental concerns of the new location.

“There is some coal ash there that was buried by the previous owner which will be kept in place,” said project manager Mike Krzywicki. “There are spoils that are there, which is mine waste material. They require a soil cap for DEP (Department of Environmental Protection).”

He added that most of the environmental hazards needed to be dealt with before construction even began. That being said, continued monitoring for any issues remains priority through the build.

“The site has been approved by all the regulating authorities. This is an extra measure that DEP has requested before we place any topsoil or plant any grass,” Krzywicki said. “We have to take each specific area, once it’s graded to subgrade, and test it for the metal content that everyone seems to be concerned about.”

DEP representatives were not available for comment on camera, but tell Eyewitness News that all aspects of the planning, testing and construction have been up to standards.

Krzywicki says there have been spots where testing has resulted in extra precautions like double the topsoil to create a safe environment for the site, past construction.

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