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DEP wants to test soil on some Aspinwall properties

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

Aspinwall officials want to meet with representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection about a property on Western Ave.

Representatives from the DEP met with borough officials last week to ask if they could install ground monitoring wells on borough property near a site on Western Ave. to test for contamination from volatile organic compounds.

The DEP plans to ask property owners nearby if they can test their land but want a backup plan in case they refuse.

Previous studies have shown a pocket of soil gas under the property.

Councilman Joe Giuffre suggested having the borough solicitor look at the DEP's request before deciding if council should allow the testing.

“I don't see a problem with letting them do it but I think the solicitor should look at the language,” Giuffre said.

The property on Western Avenue has been discussed by officials before.

A plan to demolish the building caught council's attention. Council members asked to be kept informed of any developments with the site.

Giuffre said some land owners have given permission for testing but others have not.

Council President Mark Ellermeyer said the results of any testing might give landowners pause.

“What if these monitoring locations turn up a level of contaminants that would cause to have these properties condemned,” Ellermeyer said.

Testing on the property likely should have happened before it was sold, Councilman Jim Donahoe said.

“It seems like this is all happening after it should have happened,” Donahoe said.

A representative from the DEP will attend a future council meeting to discuss the testing and the site with officials. Giuffre said that should provide council with more detailed information.

“That would be better,” Giuffre said. “They can answer any questions we may have or concerns.”

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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