Concern Over Quarry Project

FELL TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A quarry in Lackawanna County is testing a new way to dispose of construction material, but township officials say they did not approve the project, and they want it stopped.

Just last week, Pioneer Aggregates began mixing construction and demolition materials with cement and burying it on the grounds of its quarry in Fell Township near Simpson.

Fell Township supervisors have concerns and say Pioneer Aggregates is not cooperating.

"They refuse to come to the board and have the case heard by the zoning board and make a decision, which is all we ask right now," said Andy Gorel, township supervisor.

Simpson Stone Quarry has been operating in Fell Township since the 1990s, but now the land is being used to test a new material called re-crete.

Pioneer Aggregates got a permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to mix construction and demolition material with cement and bury it in a specified part of the quarry.

Officials with Fell Township say the company needs more than just that permit.

"The firm doing the work, Pioneer Aggregates, did get their DEP permit, but they are not in line with our zoning ordinance," Gorel said.

Township officials are concerned that with all the rain we've seen in recent days, that debris could be washing onto Route 171 and into Wilson Creek, which then flows into the Lackawanna River.

Gorel recorded video recently of the rain runoff flowing into the creek. He showed Newswatch 16 examples of debris he says come from the project at the quarry.

"It's something that's only allowed to be disposed in landfills anywhere in America right now, so this is an experiment, and honestly, I don't think it's a good idea to experiment in a conservation zone in our township," said Gorel.

Township officials say that the test project doesn't fall under the quarry's current zoning permit. They want the project to stop.

Newswatch 16 went to Simpson Stone Quarry and was told no one was there to speak with us. We spoke to Mark Popple, who runs the quarry with his family. He sent a statement to Newswatch 16, saying in part:

"During the permit process with DEP, the township was notified and supplied the project submittal package. The project was publicly advertised in the local newspapers as required by law."

Fell Township tells Newswatch 16 that it sent Pioneer Aggregates a cease and desist letter last week, but the company is ignoring it.

Pioneer Aggregates says it plans to appeal.

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