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Dredging revisited

| Monday, June 16, 2008

To their credit, Allegheny Township supervisors are moving to enforce a new noise ordinance.

And the state Department of Environmental Protection says it will help if the township determines that a river-dredging company is violating noise levels.

Last week, supervisors agreed to have a sound engineer monitor the noise levels. River Forest residents say the company is violating new lower decibel levels. Residents have been unhappy with Hanson Aggregates operations on the Allegheny River since they began last year.

Supervisors adopted the ordinance after residents complained dredging was going on seven days a week and often from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m.

That's certainly an infringement on the quiet that a residential neighborhood can expect.

In March, permits for the dredging issued by the DEP and Army Corps of Engineers were amended, placing new restrictions on Hanson. Dredging is restricted by hours and to the Harrison Township side of the river, for example.

Both sides have filed complaints with the state Environmental Hearing Board and a hearing will be held.

We can understand both sides. Hanson makes its living dredging sand and gravel from the river. But residents living along the river deserve their peace and quiet.

It's a tough balance. Perhaps the DEP should restrict how long operations can remain near residential areas.

Supervisors are reluctant to get into a lengthy and expensive legal battle with the company. But if residents file a lawsuit to force township officials to move on violations, that will cost the township, as well.

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