Share This Page

DEP backtracks on cause of blue creek

| Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is retracting a report that printer's ink turned a Fayette County creek blue in November.

“We have not been able to conclusively determine the source of the blue coloring of (Connellsville-Breakneck) creek,” DEP spokesman John Poister said on Wednesday. “And we have not issued any notice of violation to National Envelope, but we are continuing to discuss with them the proper disposal of ink residue.”

The blue color visibly stained the creek, which runs along Buttermore Boulevard in Connellsville Township, on Nov. 7.

Poister on Monday reported that inspectors had determined that a contractor Rodney Allen had improperly disposed of printer's ink from National Envelope in Upper Tyrone. It was believed then that the ink leaked into the creek from Allen's truck after he transported it from the facility to his property on Breakneck Road in the township.

That report, Poister said, was based on erroneous information provided by a DEP employee.

“It was a case of crossed wires,” Poister said. “Somebody thought they had the correct information, but they only had partial information, and they misinterpreted it and gave it to me.”

A notice of violation was issued to Linda Carlton Allen, Poister said, but not to National Envelope, as had been originally reported. The violation notice was issued after Rodney Allen told investigators that blue dye used in an improvement project at his house leaked into the creek, Poister said.

“Mr. Rodney Allen has told our inspectors that a concrete and blue-dye mixture was poured at his home, and it leaked out into the creek,” Poister said. “Therefore, we issued a notice of violation to Linda Carlton Allen,” who was present when the concrete was poured.

National Envelope, in a statement, said it “takes environmental protection very seriously” and is working with the DEP.

“The preliminary investigation has determined that the issue was caused by a contractor for one of National Envelope's vendors,” it said. “We have already taken steps to make sure that similar issues do not happen in the future and are reiterating our commitment to protecting the environment to all of our local vendors.”

Poister said investigators are attempting to identify the substance that colored the creek, but “it's very difficult for us to conclusively tie what it was that actually went into the creek because there was nothing there for us to sample to make any kind of solid judgment.”

Poister said DEP has expanded its investigation into Rodney Allen at his Breakneck Road property and his recycling business, Allen Enterprises, on Bellview Road in Bullskin Township.

“Our investigation into Mr. Allen's activities is lengthy and ongoing and involves a number of violations on storage of material,” Poister said.

Alleged violations include commingling recyclable paper with municipal waste. Poister said Rodney Allen was issued a notice of violation in October for failing to ensure ink residue was removed from plastic containers accepted at his facility.

Poister said civil penalties are pending against Rodney Allen, who could not be reached for comment.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.