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DEP to clean up former Jeannette Glass Co. property

Post Time:Oct 21,2011Classify:Industry NewsView:454

Representatives of the state Department of Environmental Protection say they will clean up the former Jeannette Glass Co. property, which they hope to begin in the spring or summer.


That message was presented Thursday at a public hearing in city council chambers. At issue is 13.5 acres along Bullitt Avenue where inspections revealed the presence of abandoned materials in leaking, damaged and poorly labeled boxes, as well as elevated levels of hazardous substances and other substandard conditions.


"We're going to get the waste out of there," said Dave Eberle, DEP's environmental cleanup program manager. "We're going to use all of our power to eliminate the threat to human health and the environment on the site."


Last night's hearing was attended by a handful of Jeannette residents as well as councilmen John Busato and William Bedont and a few city administrators. Also in attendance were state Sen. Kim Ward (R-Hempfield), a representative for state Rep. George Dunbar (R-Penn Township) and Jason Rigone, Westmoreland County planning director.


"It's a sad thing that a whole generation of kids grew up in Jeannette and that's what they saw," Ward said.


The Jeannette Glass Co. employed 1,500 workers until it closed in 1983. Abraham Zion bought the property (which actually covers 32 acres on Bullitt and Chambers avenues with frontage on Sixth Street) for $4 million. In subsequent years Zion promised to open a new glass plant with a full work force, but the facility never reopened.


DEP issued an administrative order Jan. 18 to Zion, who filed a notice of appeal with the Environmental Hearing Board Feb. 18. The appeal is in the discovery stage, which concludes Nov. 21.


The recommended course of action is to remove and dispose of material in containers and exposed glass waste with funding of up to $2 million available through the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act.


Some residents in attendance expressed concerned that the work couldn't be done if Zion didn't comply.


DEP officials said that would not be the case.


"Just because he's appealing, doesn't mean he doesn't have to do what's in the order," said Jim Meade, an attorney for DEP.


After hearing last night's presentation, Busato said he was optimistic the property would finally be cleaned.


"My hopes are so high," Busato said. "The whole city of Jeannette and surrounding areas owe you a debt of gratitude. We need this done. I feel this is the linchpin of the city going on."


Resident Chuck Highlands, however, expressed pessimism, saying there wouldn't be much improvement at the site "five years down the road."


Source: http://www.pittsburghlive.comAuthor: shangyi

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