HCA to monitor effect proposed asphalt plant could have on wells
Hazleton City Authority will keep tabs on developments regarding an asphalt plant proposed for property off Tomhicken Road in Sugarloaf Township.
Authority board Solicitor Peter O’Donnell said he was recently approached by a member of Sugarloaf Citizens Club and given a bulletpoint list of concer ns the citizens group has for the proposed asphalt plant.
Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc. wants to build the plant on a nearly 17-acre tract along Tomhicken Road. The facility will be the subject of a zoning hearing that is scheduled for Jan. 23 at Sugarloaf Township Fire Company.
O’Donnell did not identify the member of the citizens group who he spoke with, but said the person wanted to bring the proposed plant to the attention of the authority and ask HCA to ensure its water resources will be preserved.
“They felt we should look at it and make sure our water resources are OK,” O’Donnell said when referencing an infor mational sheet that he received from the citizens group. “I think we have some obligation to look into it.”
Authority board members took no official position on the issue Thursday.
Director Dave Sosar, however, asked HCA management to investigate the proximity of the proposed plant to a well the authority has in Tomhicken and an estimated 300 acres to 400 acres the authority owns in Humboldt Industrial Park North.
Sosar also asked O’Donnell to look into “legal ramifications” and requested management evaluate potential impacts on the water supply and land.
The citizens group said the plant is planned for property about 1.5 miles from Exit 145 (West Hazleton) of Interstate 81.
“You do have chemicals that are involved in this,” Sosar said.
“Certainly there are different sides to this entire thing … some are in favor, some against. I think it’s inherent in us as a board and as the authority to know what effects this has.”
O’Donnell said he was told that the Jan. 23 zoning hearing will “probably get continued” because the owner of the proposed asphalt plant likely won’t be available to attend.
Truck traffic, health hazards and declining property values are among concer ns that the citizens group listed on a document that was presented to O’Donnell.
Sosar reported 4,063 contributions have been made as of Thursday to a fundraiser the city of Hazleton launched in conjunction with HCA for the benefit of Hazleton’s police department. Donations have so far netted $31,766.46.
The bulk of the payments account for single, or one-time, donations, but Sosar said that more than 100 people have made multiple payments.
County Waste, the contracted garbage hauler that services Hazleton, will begin tracking containers that have been abandoned along certain sidewalks and streets, Deputy Director Richard Ammon said.
The fir m will instruct its drivers to collect bins that have been sitting empty since they were distributed, Ammon said.
Authority board Chair man Phil Andras and board member John Nilles said they’ve observed bins that have been left along sidewalks on parts of North Church Street, First Street and along part of Diamond Avenue between Church and Boundary streets.
Customers can contact County Waste if the bins they are using are mistakenly identified as neglected and removed by haulers, Andras said.