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Residents Pack First Meeting with Health Officials After Landfill Air Quality Report Release

THROOP -- It was a packed public meeting with members of two communities and state officials over the safety findings of the Keystone Sanitary Landfill at Mid Valley High School in Throop.

The report was released last month, and Monday night, residents had their first chance to get more information on what was found.

Many residents living in Dunmore and Throop, which surround the Keystone Sanitary Landfill, have concerns about what the garbage dump is doing to the quality of their air.

“On any given day we have hundreds of children playing on our playgrounds and on our fields,” said Donna Dixon, the secretary for the Mid Valley School Board of Education, during a public meeting with the Pennsylvania Department of Health at the high school.

This was the first opportunity for people to meet with the state since the department released the findings of an air quality study last month and folks packed into the auditorium for a question and answer session.

“From the testing that was done but there's also recommendations in there for additional testing and that's one of the questions that I wanted to ask tonight,” said Vincent Tanana from Throop.

Health officials say they reviewed data collected at two air quality testing sites, the Mid Valley School District and Sherwood Park, located around the landfill over a three month period.

While it found nothing that would cause cancer, it did find short-term exposure to that air could be sensitive to some.

“Some short-term, transient, mild health effects, maybe eye irritation, throat irritation, headaches, things like that,” said Dr. Sharon Watkins with the Department of Health.

But Michelle Dempsey, with Friends of Lackawanna, a grassroots effort that’s fighting the landfill’s request to expand, says that's unacceptable.

“This study has shown that there are toxins in the air that are putting our kids at risk, and we're at a school with 1,700 kids on this campus daily, and that's just intolerable,” said Dempsey.

However, a spokesperson for the landfill says it has done its own health study which found the landfill to be 100 percent safe.

“It's very clear that after 50 years of operation there's no negative impact on the people in Throop, Dunmore, or Lackawanna County,” said Al Magnotta.

The meeting with the state health department had nothing to do with the landfill's request for expansion; that request is with state environmental officials.

The health department will take public comments on its study until February 14.

A final report including public comments will be available later this year.

10 comments

  • PEATER MOSS

    Many long time employees at the landfill, I guess they show up everyday in a stretcher do to the air quality that they endure on a daily basis.
    Come up with a better excuse to stop the expansion.

    SHEESEH !!

  • Mafia mounds

    Lackawanna county is such a disgusting craphole. The two largest mountains viewed from the highways are trash. LOL! I say put ski slopes on them! It’s amazing how a handful of Italians can bully a whole county. What an embarrassment for NEPA!

  • Matt

    The article is vague. Give some numbers or items that are causing irritants. It could be neighbors’ garbage, smog from traffic, pollens. Some lady yells toxins at a meeting causes a big up roar and no one knows what the toxins could be or even have actual parts per million. What’s the point of the meeting?

    • Nope

      They plan to expand it and make another huge mountain of garbage across route 6. You will have to travel through the valley of trash to get to the upper valley. There’s literally only 1 man in the entire state that wants the expansion and there is no one that can stop him (ask the Dauphin County DA). His pockets are too deep and we live in the Commonwealth of Corruption.

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