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Landfill odors result in hefty fine

Keystone Sanitary Landfill Inc. occupies 714 acres in Dunmore and Throop.
Aimee Dilger
Keystone Sanitary Landfill Inc. occupies 714 acres in Dunmore and Throop.

The Keystone Sanitary Landfill in Lackawanna County will pay $575,000 to two municipalities and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) after more than a year of odor complaints from residents.

The civil penalty is the largest fine the DEP has issued to the landfill in the last decade, according to the agency.

The Keystone Sanitary Landfill (KSL) sits between Dunmore and Throop. Both municipalities will receive $180,000 each for environmental community projects. DEP will be paid $215,000, according to a consent order and agreement.

The odor issues violated multiple state codes, including failure to implement a Nuisance Minimization and Control Plan to lessen and control other conditions that are harmful to the environment or public health.

The smells were detected outside the two boroughs, including in Jefferson Twp., the order says.

A representative from DEP first investigated the odor issue on Nov. 9, 2022. The landfill received two notices of violation from the agency. The DEP also suspended the landfill’s Settlement Accommodation Plan (SAP) this past November. The SAP allows the landfill to add more garbage in areas where trash has naturally settled. The DEP says inadequacy in controlling gas odors is not in compliance with the permit modification.

The consent order and agreement also set out the steps the landfill must take to prevent future odor issues, which includes more testing and controlling leachate — it’s the liquid formed when rain water filters through waste in a landfill. Within 30 days, the KSL has to install two 2.5 million gallon leachate storage tank systems, among other measures.

The agreement was signed by Louis DeNaples, president of KSL; Dan O’Brien, the landfill’s manager and Jeffrey Belardi, the landfill’s lawyer; as well two representatives from DEP.

Kat Bolus is the community reporter for the newly-formed WVIA News Team. She is a former reporter and columnist at The Times-Tribune, a Scrantonian and cat mom.

You can email Kat at katbolus@wvia.org
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