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Rostraver residents raise stink about odor from landfill

| Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 12:42 a.m.

The new owners of the Westmoreland Landfill vow they are taking action to correct an odor from the site that residents claim can be smelled for miles.

But the Rostraver Township Commissioners raised doubts that the multi-phase project will be completed by year's end.

On a night in which the commissioners approved a tentative budget that holds the line on taxes, the greatest concern among residents was the landfill.

Speaking at the commissioners' meeting Wednesday night, John McGarvey, representing the landfill's new owners Tervita Westmoreland Landfill Operations, said an odor control system is currently being installed, though not as fast as they wanted. The county recently approved a permit for installation of a water line to the landfill as part of the project.

A transformer is being installed to provide electricity for that system because a three-phase generator would take six to nine months, he said.

And, he said, contractors have had issues with drilling holes to install 52 telephone poles to carry electric lines to the site.

Resident Debbie Fought said her farmland is worthless because of the smell. She said residents in the vicinity of the landfill are also dealing with dust.

“I want all of you to get on board,” Fought said. “It's a wake-up call.”

B.J. Veschio and Frank Mazurak both raised concerns about potential health issues from the landfill.

“There's a good chance if the smell is in the air, it's potentially affecting our health,” Mazurak said.

Mazurak said the residents want the state Department of Environmental Resources' mobile lab on site. Commission Chairman Andy Temoshenka said the township supports that effort.

“John, I'm not being a hard ass, but you're going to have to try harder and give us a tentative time line for completion of this,” Temoshenka told McGarvey.

The landfill spokesman said the work will be completed by year's end, but commissioner Brian Sokol voiced doubts about that timetable.

“In reality, it ain't going to happen by year's end,” Sokol said.

“I'm just concerned that you're painting a picture that can't be delivered,” he added.

Sokol said if the company doesn't deliver, the township would go to the state for action.

“I think you got the message loud and clear,” said Temoshenka. “It has to be taken care of or this board will take corrective action.”

While the township waits for the dump operators to deliver, the board delivered a tentative budget which maintains the real estate millage at 15.

The $5,620,466 budget includes $1,659,223 for police; $1,529,820 for streets; and $321,331 for volunteer fire company donations.

The commissioners are scheduled to vote on the final budget during a special session 5 p.m. Dec. 27.

“I want to commend the board for the work it has done over the past couple of weeks to balance the budget,” Temoshenka said.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or