Department of Health Issues Report on Keystone Sanitary Landfill

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DUNMORE -- Living near and smelling the Keystone Sanitary Landfill in Lackawanna County may have affected your health, according to a study by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

While landfill officials say the study debunks a lot of claims, some see it as evidence that the landfill in Dunmore and Throop should not expand.

The results of a study were released Tuesday after the Department of Health collected data in the neighborhoods around the landfill for three months. Some of the findings could be seen as good news, some could be seen as bad news.

And opinions differ over whether it will affect the landfill's proposed expansion.

Some key findings by the Department of Health include that there are no links between the Keystone Sanitary Landfill and cancer.

But, short-term exposure to the air around the landfill could be problematic to children, pregnant women, and the elderly. The Department of Health found contaminants that could cause eye or throat irritation or worsen the symptoms of asthma.

"As far as I'm concerned, really, that is game, set, match. Like, it's over. You cannot, you cannot expand this landfill knowing that we're hurting people," said Michele Dempsey, a member of Friends of Lackawanna, a grassroots group that has taken the landfill to court hoping to stop its proposed expansion.

She says any evidence that landfill pollution could hurt anyone is enough to halt the expansion. That decision will be made by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

"Every step we take, the deeper we get down this rabbit hole, the more painfully obvious it is that this landfill should not expand. And it's not good for our health, our future, it absolutely runs against that common sense tells you should be," Dempsey said.

The health report includes some suggestions for Keystone, including releasing more DEP documents about state oversight of the landfill. It asks landfill officials to respond to odor complaints quicker and make public a log of all odor complaints.

The department also asks Keystone to start an air monitoring program along the landfill's fence.

Keystone's spokesperson Al Magnotta says that last suggestion is something the landfill plans to start.

"We hope that this will put an end to all the unsubstantiated allegations that FOL made relative to the fact that Keystone is a factor in cancer and birth defects," said Magnotta.

Magnotta emphasized the good news, that there's no evidence that exposure to the landfill causes cancer. The reports other findings, he says, haven't been proven.

"Read the report," he said. "There's no facts to back that up. Could, not did, and that's the difference."

What we don't know is how this information will affect the landfill's proposed expansion. Department of Environmental Protection officials tell us it is still under review.

Friends of Lackawanna say this is ammunition next time they are in court fighting the expansion.


  • Donamick

    Used to be a time when everybody despised Denaple and what he’s doing… Now everybody’s swinging from his chain and want to be his friend simply because he’s worth billions and those people don’t care what it’s doing to them or their families they want a piece of his action. He’s winning and he’ll win. He was supposed to be off of the board of directors at fncb for the remainder of his life and is now currently back on that board so that just goes to show you money means everything in NEPA. You might as well just rename this area Denaple… Everything else is named after him parts of the University of Scranton parts of prep everything he’s got the name Denaple on it.
    he won

  • Alexandra

    Project solarshield…. There spraying sky everyday w aluminum, barium and the news doesn’t report this. Why? Why are they hiding it?

  • troutlover

    This is a perfect example of why this whole area STINKS! The Mafia is still in control and still “influences” the municipal governments. EVERY one knows that New York and New Jersey “families” are still dumping toxic chemicals and cancer causing industrial fluids in this dump!! It used to be dumped in the boreholes for the mines but now its hidden in the thousands of trash trucks! SO disgusting…..

  • fred

    Friggin stinks when you drive by there. I feel sorry for the families who get their water out of that close by reservoir. All the garbage should stay in NY NJ not be brought here.

  • Russ Fisher

    You people are ridiculous. What will you do with your trash. Burn it in your backyards. This landfill has been around a long time. Michele Dempsey is using this as a revenge tool because her brothers companies lost the Denaples cleaning bids. Its that simple folks. The “Not in my backyard” only works before the biz is built.

    • Cleo the medium

      Lost the bid? How does all the denaples greed and “I go to church everyday” work out for you? If there is a devil he lives right here. The landfill was here for a long time means absolutely nothing.

      • crew member

        The 200 million $$ they got when they sued the state of PA for putting a highway to nowhere across the property wasn’t enough money. Greed works in mysterious ways.

    • John S Mellow

      Please get your head out of your ass and read the intent of the comments. The point is on the final Health Assessment of the landfill and concerns on the fifty-year expansion. Read the report particularly the conclusions and recommendations.

  • Kimberly

    Lets not turn “could” into did. Asthma is not cancerous but is detrimental!!!! Protect the community! Stop the expansion!!!

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