Belle Vernon Municipal Authority

Mark Soroka/For the Observer-Reporter

The Municipal Authority of the Borough of Belle Vernon processes domestic sewage at its plant along the Monongahela River.

Rostraver Township officials continue to wait for a response from Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office, which they contacted to investigate their concerns about a local landfill that accepts fracking waste.

“Our solicitor has reached out to the AG’s office numerous times, but he hasn’t heard anything yet,” Chairman/President Devin DeRienzo said at the monthly meeting of the board of commissioners. “We’re still waiting for a report.”

The district attorneys in Fayette and Washington counties filed suit against Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill earlier this year.

The suit claimed cuttings from oil and gas wells composed of oil, diesel fuel, phenols and other substances are buried within the landfill and leached through by water when it rains, contaminating the water with those chemicals. The contaminated water is then piped to the Belle Vernon Municipal Authority’s wastewater treatment facility and discharged into the Monongahela River.

Last month, both sides agreed to a one-year consent order to stop the discharge.

A spokeswoman for the landfill has said the company is using approved alternatives for disposal of the wastewater and noted the company has no citations or violations for leachate quality violations.

On Wednesday, DeRienzo said the township continues to respond to complaints from residents who live near the landfill.

“While we haven’t noticed any problems lately, we did receive three calls this morning from residents who complained about odors,” said DeRienzo. “We promptly sent our zoning officer to investigate. He was joined by a representative from the landfill and they both definitely smelled something. We were told that someone from the landfill checked to make sure they had the correct amount of cover in place.”

DeRienzo said township officials immediately reported the problem to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Township manager Jeffrey Keffer questioned if atmospheric conditions may have contributed to the problem.

“There was a report in the news today that Allegheny County was receiving multiple reports of odors,” he said. “Also, there was a National Weather Service report that Southwestern Pennsylvania was experiencing an atmospheric inversion today. I don’t know if that was part of the issue here, but it’s something to keep in mind.”

In other business, the board:

  • Authorized the secretary to advertise a shopping center/service station zoning amendment
  • Moved to consider the Elks Place Phase II Flood Mitigation Project for a Community Development Block Grant for an estimated project cost of $40,000
  • Moved to authorize the secretary to advertise for budget meetings to be held on Oct. 7, 15, 21 and 29, and Nov. 4.
  • Recognized longtime resident Bill Monro, who has been regularly attending board meetings since 1966. Monro told the board he is moving to Wexford.
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