Dear Editor:

Recently, I attended the Schuylkill Township meeting about the dumping of Harrisburg sewage sludge on a surface mining site between Mary-D and Tuscarora. It was reported that the supervisors received a fax just before the meeting advising them that the sludge dumpers would not be pursing the project.

However, this is only part of the story. What I heard when the fax was read was that the sludge dumpers were putting the project on hold and would reconsider it in the future. Furthermore, an administrator for the Harrisburg Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility said that the project was on hold until after the (Nov. 2) election. The people of Schuylkill Township must continue to fight against this dumping project.

The surface mining site in question is reportedly owned by Schuylkill County and leased to a coal company that sublet it to a second coal company.

Pennsylvania regulations require the written consent of a landowner before sewage sludge can be dumped on land. Specifically, 25 Pa. Code section 271.913(e) provides, "A person who operates under a land application of sewage sludge permit issued under this subchapter shall obtain written consent of the owner of the land upon which the sewage sludge will be land applied…prior to land applying the sewage sludge."

It would be in the best interest of the people of Schuylkill Township if they would request their elected officials and representatives to ask the Schuylkill County Commissioners not to consent to the dumping of sewage sludge on the site in question.

If my memory serves me correctly, two of the present commissioners, Mantura Gallagher and Frank Staudenmeier, campaigned that they each opposed the dumping of sludge in our communities. I met with Mr. Staudenmeier in Tamaqua and with Mrs. Gallagher in her home in Pottsville where each expressed his or her position to me personally. Let us see if their memories are as good as mine.

Dr. Dante Picciano

Tamaqua