Pennsylvania Department of Health issues report on landfill

The report says exposure to the air around the Keystone Sanitary Landfill could be an issue to children, pregnant women and the elderly.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health conducted a study on the Keystone Sanitary Landfill in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, a report by WNEP says. The results of the study may have an effect on a proposed landfill expansion.

The results of the study were released Dec. 19 and state that while there is no link between the landfill and cancer, short-term exposure to the air around the landfill could be an issue for children, pregnant women and the elderly. The department found contaminants at the landfill that could cause eye and throat irritation and worsen symptoms of asthma.

Friends of Lackawanna, a grassroots group that has taken the landfill to court with the goal of stopping the expansion, say in the report that these results could hinder the proposal. Michele Dempsey, a member of the group, says in the report that any evidence that landfill pollution could cause harm is enough to stop the expansion.

The department’s report includes suggestions for the landfill, such as releasing more Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection documents about the state’s oversight of the landfill, responding to odor complaints quicker and making a public log of all odor complaints, the report says.

Another suggestion is to start an air monitoring program along the landfill’s fence, the report says. Al Magnotta, the landfill’s spokesperson, says in the report the landfill plans to start air monitoring.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will decide whether to allow the landfill’s expansion.