Hazleton, PA – Hazleton Creek Properties LLC (HCP) today received a Statewide Beneficial Use General Permit WMGR097 from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to commence with a major mine reclamation project in Hazleton, PA, in Luzerne County, Northeastern Pennsylvania, a region that was once home to major coal mining operations but has since been left with dangerous, abandoned mines that are a blight on the community and an ongoing threat to public safety. The Hazleton Reclamation site is an abandoned mine located directly off Interstate 81 and bounded by Routes 924, 309 and Broad Street. The site has been severely impacted by past deep and surface mining practices and encompasses more than 277 acres of un-reclaimed, abandoned mine pits and spoil piles. Portions of the site (approximately 50 acres) were previously used for disposal of municipal and industrial waste in several mine pits.
“This is a wonderful day for the residents of Hazleton who, for far too long, have had to live in the midst of this dangerous community eyesore,” said Mark McClellan, HCP’s environmental consultant and President of Evergreen Environmental, Inc. “We greatly appreciate the thoroughness of the DEP’s review of our application and are extremely grateful to have been granted the permit to proceed with this important reclamation project, which, when completed, will eliminate a huge safety risk, bring back the natural beauty of this region and improve the overall quality of life for Hazleton residents. We are ready to roll.”
The abandoned site has been severely impacted by past deep mining and surface mining and contains over 200 acres of un-reclaimed abandoned mine pits, highwalls and spoil piles. Subsequent to mining, both municipal and industrial waste materials were disposed in some mine pits. Highwall hazards, open mine pits, and an uncapped waste disposal area have posed a long-term risk to public health, safety and the environment.
The project performed by HCP – at no cost to the taxpayer – will take an existing public liability and create a public asset with significant economic benefits though redevelopment and job creation. As importantly, the reclamation/remediation project will achieve the strict statewide health standards for Brownfield remediation with the voluntary completion of the Act 2 remediation performed solely at the expense of HCP.
Under the demonstration project, HCP will place C & D fine materials with approved Regulated Fill material under strict standards and acceptance limits set by DEP to reclaim a pit area that currently presents a major safety risk to the public.
The demonstration project is designed to achieve the following goals:
1. Demonstrate the potential for the statewide beneficial use of C & D fine materials as valuable materials for reclamation of abandoned mine lands that pose public safety and environmental risks where no funds or responsible parties exist to complete the critical job.
2. Demonstrate that C & D fine material mixed with Regulated Fill can produce a reclamation mixture that will produce levels of compaction that will support structures for redevelopment projects on Brownfield lands.
3. Expedite the site reclamation and Act 2 remediation of a critical area by providing an additional high volume, safe material for mine reclamation purposes.