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Officials Answer Landfill Questions

THROOP — Anyone who wants to learn more about the proposed plan to expand a landfill has a chance Monday. The Keystone Landfill in Dunmore wants to expand...

THROOP -- Anyone who wants to learn more about the proposed plan to expand a landfill has a chance Monday.

The Keystone Landfill in Dunmore wants to expand because it says it's running out of room for more trash.

It's called an open house at the Throop Civic Center. Several organizations including the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Protection are there to answer questions about Keystone's proposed expansion.

Stations are set up around the gymnasium. Tables staffed by DEP representatives, plus health experts with the state and the federal government. This is the place to get answers, and a DEP spokesman says they're ready.

The landfill is in Dunmore and borders Throop, but people from all over Lackawanna County have come with questions.

Keystone Sanitary Landfill covers 1,000 acres in Dunmore. It's looking to grow up, not out. The landfill wants to extend its life by 50 years and get approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection to add more peaks of garbage on the property.

The process of getting that approval is lengthy and means a lot of questions from the DEP, and ultimately, from the landfill's neighbors.

"This landfill expansion not only affects Dunmore and Throop. It affects all of northeastern Pennsylvania. So, I felt it was necessary to get involved and show our concerns," said Diane Yagelskibetti from Dickson City.

Yagelskibetti 's one of several people from outside the Dunmore and Throop communities who came to a question and answer open house at the Throop Community Center. Folks asked questions about the landfill's proposal and the studies that follow.

Officials say the DEP is still about a year away from making a decision.

"I came here really interested in the public health study because I think that we know that the landfill is running into the community's water supply and I think that's really, really scary. I came here with questions about the public health study to see the timeline for that and make sure it was integrated into the timeline to stop the landfill," said Jefferson Township resident Maura Cowley.

A state Department of Health study is one of the next steps in the approval process. The department will take the next year to run tests on Keystone Landfill. It will then make recommendations to the DEP.

"Our role is to protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians. We're going to gather that data and see if what we find is having a negative impact or is not," said department of health official Martin Raniowski.

Although the visitors to the open house came from a wide array of places around Lackawanna County, most of them are not new to the landfill expansion controversy, and openly oppose it.

"Will we be fighting for nothing? Time will tell. Hopefully, not, but it is going to be a very big uphill battle," said Yagelskibetti.

"One of the things we had when we had the public meeting, one of the problems is people felt they didn't have enough time to ask questions. It was only a four-hour long public meeting. Now, they have six hours to go one on one with the DEP and the Department of Health to ask any questions they might have about the keystone landfill expansion," explained DEP official Colleen Connolly

This session goes until 2 p.m. If you can't get there, there's another one from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., also at the Throop Civic Center, 500 Sanderson Street, Throop.

According the DEP this is far from over. There will be more studies, and more public input sessions. A decision on the proposed Keystone expansion is still about a year away.

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