PennDOT to hold meeting on I-99

PennDOT has announced it will hold an informational meeting later this month regarding options on the disposal of pyrite (acid rock) from sections of Interstate 99 in Centre County.
In early March, PennDOT secretary Allen D. Biehler announced the state’s transportation agency would re-examine its plans for the disposal of the substance. The pyritic rock can cause acid drainage if it is exposed to air and precipitation.
The postponement of plans to transport 675,000 cubic yards of the material from Centre County to Indiana County was put on hold a couple of weeks after a meeting in Pine Township, Indiana County on the proposal. A second meeting scheduled for March 7 was canceled.
PennDOT and Robindale Energy Services had applied for permits through the DEP to haul the pyrite on a 75-mile route that would include Blair County and dispose of it at a Robindale-owned site in Indiana County.
District Two spokesperson Marla Fannin told The Daily Herald, “ We are going to an informational presentation on April 10 from 7 to 10 p.m. We are going to be at Park Forrest Middle School (in Patton Township, Centre County).”
Originally, PennDOT was looking at an April 12 meeting, but decided on April 10 when they learned Patton Township supervisors were scheduled to hold their regular meeting that evening.
“We will be showing both a formal powerpoint presentation,” said Fannin. We will also have information stations available so people can learn and garner information in a couple different ways. We’ll have an opportunity for folks to make public comment.”
Fannin said at the very least, there would be an opportunity for written public comment. She also said there would be an opportunity for questions and answers between the public and the officials in attendance. She said the meeting was not a DEP-required meeting.
“This is simply an informational meeting that PennDOT believes is best to have in order to allow folks to see where we have been, what our final remediation options look like and offer (the opportunity) to comment on those options,” said Fannin.
The Indiana Gazette reported in a Feb. 14, 2006 article that residents there don’t want potential pollution and don’t believe the acid rock can be trucked safely. The article also noted Indiana County residents didn’t trust what PennDOT and DEP representatives were telling them.
PennDOT’s previously announced final remediation plan also calls for the encasement of some of the rock that can’ t be safely removed from the site at Skytop in Centre County.
Fannin confirmed recent comments from Secretary Biehler indicating that sites around the Skytop are “still in mix” as possible sites for disposal of the pyrite-ensnarled rock.
April Hedrick, a project manager for Robindale Energy Services told The Daily Herald earlier this week that to her knowledge the Indiana County site was still an option for the removal of the material at Skytop.
In other matters related to the I-99 project, Fannin told The Daily Herald on Friday that PennDOT has submitted a revised application to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection regarding the cleanup at Skytop. She said the revision related to a water quality permit associated with rock that can’t be safely moved from the site.
Fannin said the agency is continuing to look at the possibility of concerns over acid rock drainage in a different area of the I-99 project located north of Port Matilda. However, she said officials have to wait for measurable rainfall in order to take necessary samples to make a further determination.