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Soil vapor testing slated for 13 homes

Published January 05. 2010 05:00PM

Thirteen properties in Tamaqua's South Ward have been sent letters advising the occupants that soil vapor testing will be performed on their properties.

The testing is part of the ongoing cleanup of a leaking underground oil tank that was discovered when the old Tamaqua Junior High School was taken down to make way for the LCCC campus.

Since that time, according to the letter from Mark Smith, a senior geologist from Spotts, Stevens, and McCoy, LCCC's hired consultant, LCCC has been working to clean up the area. The soil vapor testing is a requirement of the Department of Environmental Protection, and will be performed on all structures within a 100-foot radius of the initial plume.

Resident Dan Poncavage, who lives in the area, questioned if the borough will also be having someone review the results of the testing. Borough manager Kevin Steigerwalt said the consultant will be conducting the tests and DEP will be reviewing the results. The borough should receive copies of all communications.

"We are not the enforcement agency," he added. Poncavage also questioned why the interiors of the homes were not being tested.

"Doing it in the yards is the first step," said Steigerwalt. "If they encounter anything, they would do further testing." After the meeting, Steigerwalt added that LCCC has been remediating the site for several years now and is at the point where little to nothing is being recovered in the remediation wells.

Several members of Tamaqua's Italian Club also appeared at Monday's meeting to ask what could be done about an internally lighted sign that the club purchased to replace an existing sign that had fallen into disrepair. According to Howard Boyer, vice-president of the club, they have been advised by the HARC committee that the sign is not acceptable.

"We assumed we were doing it right because we just replaced something that was broken," he said.

Council President Micah Gursky noted that a new sign had been installed in a new place on the building.

"You're very much aware that your building is a unique building in a special neighborhood," he added. "We have higher standards for you than other parts of our community," he said, referring to the designated historic district.

Gursky also reminded residents that there is a permit process required.

"We've had this ordinance in place since 2001 and a lot of people still aren't aware of it," Gursky said.

"To me, the sign they put up is an improvement, there has to be a way to work this out," said Councilman Brian Connely. The matter was referred to the HARC committee and code enforcement for resolution.

In other business, council approved the office employee contract for the period of Jan. 1 through December 31, 2013. It also approved four handicap parking spaces for 321 W. Spruce St., 308 Biddle St., 32 N. Greenwood St., and 417 E. Union St.

Council also awarded the bids for the 2010 street materials contract as follows: 200 tons superpave asphalt mix wearing course, 100 tons superpave asphalt mix base course, 100 tons PennDOT approved cold-patch, 500 tons 2A stone, 100 gallons sealer, 1000 tons anti-skid material type 2, 200 tons No. 57 stone, and 100 tons, No. 67 stone to Lehigh Asphalt, of Tamaqua; 200 tons No. 57 stone, delivered, and 100 tons, No. 67 stone delivered, from Hazleton Materials, of Weatherly; and 1000 tons anti-skid material type 2 delivered, to Easter Industries, Center Valley.

Council also recognized five students from Marian Catholic High School who attended the meeting as part of a project for their U.S. Government and Economics class. Justin Huegel, Michael Stauffer, Jack Ryan, Kyle Thomas, and Vinnie Fital noted that they must attend two different government meetings for their class.

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