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MAX Environmental appeals $11K fine in Westmoreland

| Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

The operator of an industrial waste disposal and treatment facility near Yukon has appealed an $11,000 fine levied by a district judge for violation of a 1966 South Huntingdon ordinance.

MAX Environmental Technologies Inc. of Upper St. Clair filed the appeal in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court.

The company is seeking to overturn the Oct. 30 decision of West Newton District Judge Charles Christner that MAX Environmental violated a local ordinance by failing to obtain an operating permit from the township, operating a waste disposal pit within 600 yards of a township road and permitting noxious odors and dust to blow onto homes along Spring Street, just outside the facility's perimeter.

South Huntingdon solicitor Chris Huffman said Tuesday a date has not been set for a hearing on the appeal.

When Christner issued his ruling, Huffman said the most important aspect was his finding that MAX had violated a township ordinance. The fine was insignificant to such a large company, he said.

“As a rule, we cannot comment on ongoing litigation,” Susan Z. Forney, a spokeswoman for MAX Environmental, stated in an email Tuesday.

Christopher Capozzi, a Pittsburgh attorney representing the company, declined to comment on the appeal.

Capozzi argued in district court that MAX Environmental's operations are regulated and permitted by the state Department of Environmental Protection, which supersedes township ordinances.

Christner fined MAX Environmental $500 each for failing to obtain a permit and operating a waste disposal plant within 600 yards of a public road for a two-year period and $10,000 for failing to contain the odors and dust inside the facility from Jan. 1 to May 27, the date South Huntingdon filed the complaint.

The township sought a maximum of $87,600 in fines — $73,000 for failing to obtain a permit for operating its No. 6 impoundment near Spring Street and $14,600 for failing to contain the odors and dust.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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