Friday, January 19, 2018

Cleaned Up Brownfield Site Location Of New Senior Housing Facility In Lock Haven

The Wolf Administration Friday celebrated the opening of Lock Haven Court, a new senior housing project in Lock Haven, Clinton County, made possible by the cleanup efforts of the Department of Environmental Protection.
DEP Northcentral Regional Director Marcus Kohl and staff joined the Northern Cambria Community Development Corporation, developer of the Lock Haven Court facility, to highlight the new facility at a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“The remediation of this site is a good example of how DEP can use the tools available to us to protect the citizens of the commonwealth and the environment, while returning contaminated properties to productive use,” said Randy Farmerie, Program Manager for Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields in the DEP Northcentral Regional Office.
Supported through DEP’s Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act funds the new Lock Haven Court apartment building provides 11 units of safe, affordable housing for low-income seniors, replacing an existing building that was built over soils with elevated levels of radiation. DEP plans to demolish the former Lock Haven Court apartment building and remediate the underlying contaminated soil by Summer 2018.
The site is contaminated with a radioactive element, radium-226, used by the former Karnish Instruments company as a component of glow-in-the-dark paint used to illuminate aircraft instruments. Karnish Instruments operated on the site from the 1950s through the 1970s.
“The completion of this building allows us to move on to the final step of a long clean up that will erase the environmental legacy of Karnish Instruments,” said Kohl. “It’s a big win for the environment and a big win for the residents of Lock Haven Court.”
The Lock Haven Court site will be the fifth and final parcel of land associated with the former Karnish site that has been remediated through HSCA. HSCA provides DEP with the funding and the authority to conduct cleanup actions at sites where hazardous substances have been released and no viable responsible party exists to conduct the cleanup.
“It is a great pleasure to see the tenants move into their new, safe, beautiful homes,” said Cheryl Sinclair, Environmental Group Manager for Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields in the DEP Northcentral Regional Office, who served as project lead for DEP. “This is what we’ve worked so hard to achieve; the moment when we could say ‘welcome home.’”
Questions should be directed to Megan Lehman, DEP Northcentral Regional Office, 570-327-3659 or send email to:
For more information on brownfield cleanup, visit DEP’s Land Recycling Program webpage.

House Subcommittee On Fiscal Policy Hears Recommendation To Adopt Taxes On Pollution, Degradation

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Fiscal Policy Thursday held a hearing on Pennsylvania’s tax structure and heard recommendations for tax reform and tax reductions.
One of the most significant recommendations came from Pavel Yakovley, Associate Professor of Economics at Duquesne University, who said legislators should “consider increasing state reliance on user fees and charges, as well as corrective taxes on negative externalities like pollution and environmental degradation” to offset the possible revenue losses from tax cuts.
Yakovlev said “Corrective taxes on negative environmental externalities are also desirable from an efficiency standpoint because they force the market to internalize the costs that pollutants impose on society.
“However, the challenge with corrective taxes is that they should be set equal to the marginal damage, which is hard to estimate objectively in many cases.
“This is a particularly thorny issue when it comes to assessing what kind of taxes should be levied on natural gas extraction: a fixed impact fee per well or a severance tax per unit of gas extracted?  
“From a societal perspective, if negative externalities are proportional to the number of wells drilled, then the tax should be structured more like a fixed impact fee per well. However, if externalities are proportional to the volume of gas extracted, then a severance like tax per unit of natural gas might be more appropriate.”
In response to a question, Yakovley said he is not generally in favor of film production tax credits because they end up being a giveaway because the jobs created by film productions only last 28 to 31 days with limited benefits.
Pennsylvania presently gives away $65 million a year in Entertainment Production tax credits.
Robert Strauss, Economics & Public Policy Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said in response to a question, Pennsylvania faces a “demographic tsunami” because Pennsylvania’s income-producing population is decreasing while the elderly population is growing.
Strauss said not dealing with this issue will lead to a situation in Pennsylvania similar to the opioid crisis.
Click Here to watch a video of the hearing.
Rep. Warren Kampf (R-Chester) serves as Majority Chair of the Subcommittee on Fiscal Policy and can be contacted by sending email to: and Rep. Peter Schweyer (D-Lehigh), serves as Minority Chair of the Subcommittee, and can be contacted by sending email to:
(Based in part on reporting by PA Legislative Services.)

PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Committee Meets Jan. 26

The PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee is scheduled to meet on January 26 to continue its effort to develop Pennsylvania’s Phase 3 Watershed Plan for meeting Chesapeake Bay cleanup obligations.
DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell told the Citizens Advisory Council Tuesday the Chesapeake Bay Program should release its initial nutrient and sediment reduction targets in February and finalized them in May.
At the Steering Committee’s last meeting in December, very preliminary information from the modeling done for the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program shows Pennsylvania’s 2025 targets for reducing nutrients may be 7 million pounds less for nitrogen and 270,000 pounds less for phosphorus than originally thought.
Secretary McDonnell told the Council while the numbers may be lower, they will still be significant challenges for Pennsylvania.
One of the key concerns for Pennsylvania planners is how the Conowingo Dam’s reduced ability to hold back sediment from going into the Chesapeake Bay will factor into the reduction targets.
Secretary McDonnell told the Council the Conowingo Dam issue will be dealt with in its own, separate watershed implementation plan drafted by Pennsylvania, Maryland, EPA and the owner of the dam Exelon.
The Steering Committee meeting will be held in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson Building in Harrisburg from 1:00 to 4:00.  Click Here to register to attend the meeting by webinar.  Participants will also need to call in 1-650-479-3208, PASSCODE 643 105 683 to hear the audio of the webinar.
For more information, visit DEP’s PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee webpage.

Op-Ed: Salt For Snow And Ice, Effects On Waterways Are Not Very Nice

By Harry Campbell, PA Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Just like too much salt in your diet can be bad for your health, too much salt on our roads and sidewalks can be bad for the health of our rivers and streams.
Pennsylvania is among northern states in what is referred to as the Salt Belt, named for their use of salt on roadways to control snow and ice.
Last winter, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) treated snow and ice on roadways with nearly 900,000 tons of salt and 532,000 tons of small stones as anti-skid materials. Thousands more tons are added by local municipal road crews.
For storm events last winter, PennDOT also pretreated roads with more than 9.8 million gallons of salt brine. The water in the brine evaporates and the remaining salt helps prevent ice from forming a strong bond with the road surface. PennDOT has 63 facilities statewide for making its own brine.
This winter, road warriors have been busy treating about 120,000 miles of Keystone State highways and 32,000 state and local bridges.
Everyone is familiar with table salt, or sodium chloride. This, along with chlorides containing magnesium, calcium, or potassium are typically used as deicers.
When these compounds do their job, they dissolve in the melted snow and ice where they either accumulate in nearby soils or find their way to the nearest waterbody.
The various compounds, but particularly the chloride, can be toxic to aquatic life in freshwater. In saltwater environments like the brackish Chesapeake Bay, animals aren’t likely to react as negatively to additional chloride as will critters in freshwater.
For critters and creeks, it can be a bad brew.
A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that salt ions are changing the chemistry of freshwater streams across the nation, including in Pennsylvania. Salty, alkaline freshwater can cause big problems for urban infrastructure, drinking water supplies, and the natural ecosystem.
Salt that stays on the land can be harmful to plants as evidenced by dead or dying, seemingly burned-out vegetation found along many roadways.
Around the home we can do our part to reduce winter’s salty, polluted runoff, by not using salt on driveways, walkways and other slick surfaces.
Alternatives to chloride-based ice melts like calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) exist, but may come with their own negative environmental impacts.
Be aware that store-bought salt products may include additives or impurities that include trace metals that can also be toxic. Some salts may also contain an anti-caking device such as forms of cyanide, which is also toxic. So read the label. Know what’s in those products.
Sand is a popular go-to alternative to salt for improving traction on slick surfaces. But it too can find its way into streams where it can smother habitat important to fish and other aquatic life.
Regardless of which type of snow or ice melt you choose, proper application is key to preventing damage to vegetation and polluting nearby waters. As with the use of fertilizers, using just enough ice melt to get the job done, at the right time and in the right locations, is the key.
Its treachery aside, some winter snowpack is essential to having ample water supplies in the spring.  Snowmelt on forests, farms, and fields tends to infiltrate into the groundwater. Along the way it’s filtered by the soil and cooled. During dry summer months, cool, clean groundwater feeds many Pennsylvania streams.
On the roads and at home in winter, we encourage the wise use of salt and other chemicals when Pennsylvania paving turns slick. For our human and water bodies, reducing the use of salt is the healthy choice.
Motorists can check conditions on state-owned roadways, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting
For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA webpage.  Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column).  Click Here to support their work.

Jan. 19 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The January 19 Take Five Fridays With Pam is now available from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation.  For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Foundation,  Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.  Click Here to become a member of the Foundation.
(Photo: Eastern Bluebird at Pymatuning State Park, Crawford County on New Year's Day by State Park Staff.)

DEP Blog: Going Green In The New Year

By Virginia Cain, Community Relations Coordinator, DEP Southeast Regional Office

I’ve never been very good at New Year’s Resolutions. Partly because I’m terrible at long term planning, but mostly because climbing the never-ending arbitrary mountain of “eat healthier” or “read more” or “be better” always seems so…. daunting.
This year however, instead of picking vague self-improvement resolutions, I thought I would try looking for goals everyone can get behind.
SO, in the spirit of sharing, I offer the following …
-- Resolution #1: BYO!  Bring your own shopping bags, coffee cups, and containers anywhere you go. Cutting down on plastic bags, polystyrene cups, or non-reusable containers uses less resources, sends less waste to the landfill, results in less litter, and can even save money!
-- Resolution #2: Walk, Run, Bike, Carpool, Train, Trolley, or Bus: Depending on where you live, this resolution may be varying degrees of reasonable (or applicable). Here in Philadelphia, I have (almost) no excuse to take anything but a trolley, bus or train to get around the city. Yet often I find myself heading for the car because it’s “easier” or “faster.” This year, I vow to re-think my transportation and opt out of solo car-rides whenever possible. Check out your own local transportation; you may have more options than you realize.
-- Resolution #3: Fight Phantom Power: I am very guilty of leaving things plugged in all day, every day. Toasters, blenders, phone chargers. After attending a presentation on home energy usage a few months ago, I learned that even when not in use, these electronics and appliances are sucking power, sometimes up to 40 watts per device! Do an inventory of your outlets to see what you can unplug (or switch to a power strip) to cut back on your usage!
-- Resolution #4: Cut down on food waste: Whether it’s food scraps from our plate, mystery leftovers from the back of the fridge, or produce that didn’t wait for us to get to it, we can all do better to reduce the amount of food we’re wasting. Consider buying un-packaged produce to better control the amount, brush up on the proper way to freeze or preserve foods, and read up on the environmental cost of the food industry to better understand the impacts.
-- Resolution #5: Re-commit myself to recycling EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME, EVERYDAY, NO EXCUSES: For many of us, recycling is second nature. It’s something most of us learned in school and do without thinking. But I’ll be honest … I often find myself getting lazy when faced with even the slightest recycling obstacle: there’s no recycling receptacle immediately available, I’m too afraid to open the old yogurt container to clean it out, or a handful of other various excuses.
This year, I vow to recommit myself to recycling everything I can, whenever I can, wherever I can.
(Reprinted from the DEP Blog-- Our Common Wealth.)

Deadline Extended For Western PA Zero Waste Event & Business Awards Nominations

The PA Resources Council has extended the deadline for nominations for the 3rd Annual Western PA Zero Waste Event and Business Awards.  The deadline for nominations is now January 26.
The Awards recognize those who recognize those who adopt and utilize strategies to achieve Zero Waste including waste avoidance, reuse, recycling, and composting.  They include--
-- Zero Waste Achievement Awards for any event or institution that has diverted a significant percentage of their waste in 2017 in Gold, Silver and Bronze categories; and
-- Zero Waste Excellence Awards for exemplary dedication to the principles of Zero Waste.
By sponsoring these awards, PRC hope to encourage the region to implement Zero Waste techniques and principles to reach over 90 percent diversion!
Awards Ceremony
A awards ceremony to recognize the winners will be held on February 22 at Construction Junction, 214 North Lexington Street, Pittsburgh from 5:30 to 8:30.
Click Here for nomination instructions.  Click Here for all the details.  Questions should be sent to:
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Resources Council website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates, follow PRC on Twitter or Like them on Facebook.  Click Here for PRC’s Events Calendar.  Click Here to support their work.

DEP Published 47 Pages Of Permit Actions In Jan. 20 PA Bulletin

The Department of Environmental Protection published 47 pages of public notices related to proposed and final permit and approval/ disapproval actions in the July 20 PA Bulletin - pages 527 to 574.
Sign Up For DEP’s eNotice: Did you know DEP can send you email notices of permit applications submitted in your community?  Notice of new technical guidance documents and regulations?  All through its eNotice system.  Click Here to sign up.

Comments Invited On Proposed RACT II Air Quality Plan For Montour Power Plant

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the January 20 PA Bulletin inviting comments on a proposed RACT II Air Quality Plan for the Montour Power Plant in Derry Township, Montour County.  (PA Bulletin page 572)
DEP will hold a public hearing on the proposed plan on February 28, if a hearing is requested, at DEP’s Northcentral Regional Office 208 Third Street, Williamsport starting at 10:00.
To request a hearing, to register to speak at a hearing, or to inquire if a hearing will be held, contact Megan Lehman at 570-327-3659. The last day to preregister to speak at a hearing, if one is held, will be February 21, 2018.
See the PA Bulletin notice for all the necessary details on how to submit comments.  (PA Bulletin page 572)

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