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Copyright © 2010 The Morning Call

ID: 4502943
Publication Date: January 1, 2010
Day: Friday
Page: A1
Edition: FIRST
Section: News
Type: Local
Dateline:
Column:
Length: long

Byline: By Christopher Baxter OF THE MORNING CALL

Headline: Chrin had support as it broke rules **Williams supervisors


backed landfill during period when DEP says it was in violation.

During the past two years, the Williams Township supervisors have
justified their support for the Chrin Bros. Sanitary Landfill by saying they
were confident the company was well-run and complied with state
environmental regulations.

But a $186,750 penalty levied Monday by the Pennsylvania Department


of Environmental Protection details in the sharpest terms to date how
Chrin violated rules at the same time supervisors endorsed the landfill's
continued operation and its plan to expand.

Residents say that while the supervisors claimed to be concerned about


compliance, they ignored evidence of problems at the landfill documented
by the state. The township also should have waited until the DEP
completed its investigation of gas and odor problems before entering into
an expansion agreement with Chrin, the critics say.

"If the supervisors were honest, they would now go back to Chrin and say,
"You did not bargain in good faith, you did not protect the people of this
township,"' said Kathy Lilley, a leading opponent of the landfill. "But
they're not going to do that because they're not honest."

The supervisors Wednesday said they knew the DEP was examining
Chrin's compliance but proceeded with agreements because they believed
the state agency would address any problems and take action.

Outgoing Supervisor Robert Doerr said the past compliance issues are not
a concern and that he will "look forward."

"You want to make sure from this point in time they're operating in
compliance," Doerr said. "The past doesn't concern me."

But Doerr in 2008 touted the landfill as a "very good, tidy" facility, one of
the best in the state, and has lauded the landfill's compliance record as
admirable for a company dealing with solid waste.

Also in 2008, Williams solicitor Brian Monahan said he did not believe
the supervisors "would ever enter into an agreement" if Chrin "wasn't
currently in compliance with the DEP standards."

But as the DEP penalty details, Chrin on 19 occasions during the past two
years failed to control odors and sufficiently cover the landfill. The
company on "numerous occasions" between 2005 and 2008 failed to
collect at least 70 percent of landfill gases and re-monitor locations where
emissions exceeded state limits, according to the DEP.

The violations came at the same time the supervisors rezoned land for
Chrin and pledged their support for a future landfill expansion. In a pact
with the company in 2009, the supervisors premised their support for an
expansion on "substantial compliance" with state environmental rules.

But the supervisors said this week they do not intend to revisit the
agreement.

"I'm not going to make the landfill operator the bad guy. He's not the bad
guy," Doerr said. "I don't care who the operator is, there's always going to
be some level of violations occurring at landfills."

In June, Supervisor Chairwoman Sally Hixson voted in favor of Chrin's


rezoning, which the company needed to move forward with an expansion,
despite saying she was concerned about the odors and that Chrin "could
do a better job" controlling them.

She declined to comment Wednesday.

Supervisor Fred Mebus cast the lone vote against the rezoning, which
passed 2-1, saying the landfill did not have its odor problems under
control. But one month later, he said odors had "gotten better" and
endorsed an expansion.

He said Wednesday the penalty was "a DEP matter."

The landfill and its parent company, The Charles Chrin Cos., have
throughout the years bragged about their cooperation with state officials
and their odor management program, calling it an "industry model" in a
mailing to Williams residents in 2008.

In a prepared statement this week, landfill Vice President Greg Chrin said
he was pleased the DEP renewed the facility's operating permit, but
declined to comment on whether the company would appeal the penalty to
the Environmental Hearing Board in Harrisburg.

The permit renewal allows Chrin to operate for an additional 10 years or


until it reaches capacity. It also requires Chrin to seal 60 percent of the
landfill by the end of 2011. The DEP said it will continue to monitor the
site and accelerate capping if odors persist.

Along with the penalty, the DEP's decision to renew the permit can also
be appealed. Lilley said the group of residents opposed to the landfill had
not yet decided what, if any, action to take.

christopher.baxter@mcall.com

610-778-2283

WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT CHRIN

"Our comprehensive odor management program is an industry model."


Chrin Bros. Inc., January 2008

"I don't think [these supervisors] would ever enter into an agreement if the
operator wasn't currently in compliance with the DEP standards."

Solicitor Brian Monahan, December 2008

"I have to believe Chrin can do a better job with odors."

Supervisor Sally Hixson, June 2009

"[The Chrins] run a very good, tidy landfill facility, and that is an opinion
shared at the state level."

Supervisor Robert Doerr, December 2008