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DEP to host hearing on St. Thomas asphalt request

October 24, 2006|by DON AINES

ST. THOMAS, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing Thursday on an application by St. Thomas Development Inc. on a draft of an air permit application by St. Thomas Development Inc. to operate an asphalt plant at its quarry.

The two-hour meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the St. Thomas Elementary School, 70 School House Road, according to a department news release.

"Residents will have an opportunity to comment on the company's proposal and offer input on the conditions that DEP outlines in a draft permit," South Central Regional Director Rachel Diamond stated in the news release.

"A number of ... FROST members are scheduled to speak," said Cheryl Stearn, a member of Friends and Residents of St. Thomas, and wife of St. Thomas Township Supervisor Frank Stearn. The group formed three years ago in opposition to the proposal to build a limestone quarry, concrete plant and asphalt plants on a former orchard west of the village of St. Thomas.

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The permit for the quarry was issued to St. Thomas Development, a subsidiary of DePaul Development Inc., in March, according to the department.

"They have filed to use waste oil" to make asphalt, Stearn said. "For me that's a concern," she said, because the plant would be operating near the elementary school and the village.

The air permit is for a plant that would produce up to 250,000 tons of hot mix asphalt a year, according to the application, which sets limits for the amount of halides, arsenic, cadmium and other chemicals allowed in any recycled or reprocessed oil used by the plant. Total halides would have to be tested for each shipment of oil received and samples from one in 15 shipments would have to be sampled for complete analysis, the application states.

The application also limits emissions from the facility to 100 tons a year each of sulfur and nitrogen compounds, carbon monoxide and particulate matter and 50 tons of volatile organic compounds.

The period to register to speak at the hearing ends today. Anyone interested in registering can call DEP Community Relations Coordinator Sandy Roderick at 717-705-4931.

Written comments on the application will be accepted until Nov. 9. Those comments should be sent to: Ronald Davis, DEP South Central Region, New Source Review Section Chief, 909 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg, PA 17110.

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