The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (Penn DOT) has applied for a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to remove pyritic rock from sections of Interstate 99 in Centre County.
PennDOT already has a permit application under review with DEP. That application is for PennDOT’s plan to complete work in the Skytop area, where pyritic material cannot be moved and must be treated in place.
The new permit application addresses PennDOT’s plan to remove and transport approximately 675,000 cu. yds. (516,074 cu. m) of pyritic material approximately 3 mi. south of Skytop to an engineered rock placement area (ERPA) that would be built in Worth Township. The ERPA would serve as a containment site-in essence housing the pyritic material.
PennDOT has held a number of public meetings to explain the concept and design of the ERPA and will continue to make information available through meetings and the I-99 newsletter.
“Input on this issue has been extremely important,” said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler. “To that end, we have considered public concern and have met with experts outside of PennDOT to review both the ERPA site and design and have made changes to ensure its containment.
“Our goals for this complicated issue remain the same. To protect the environment and public health by putting the best design solution forward using proven technology; to carry out the solution in the most cost-effective manner possible; and to complete the I-99 highway in order to enhance travel and safety in the Centre County region.”
The PennDOT permit application is available for public review at:
• Willowbank County Office Building, 420 Holmes Street, Bellefonte;
• The Patton Township Building, 100 Patton Plaza, State College;
• DEP Moshannon District Mining Office, 186 Enterprise Drive, Philipsburg;
• Port Matilda Borough Building, 400 South High Street, Port Matilda;
• ClearWater Conservancy, 2555 North Atherton Street, State College; Worth Township Office.
In addition, applications can be viewed at the DEP Northcentral Regional Office, 208 West Third St., Suite 101, Williamsport, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. An appointment must be made with Kathy Arndt at 570/327-3693.
The applications also can be viewed at PennDOT District 2 Office, 1924 Daisy Street Extension, Clearfield, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Acidic drainage can occur when unearthed pyritic rock is exposed to air and precipitation. PennDOT has overseen interim remediation efforts in the area since 2003.
For more information, visit www.dot.pa.state.us or www.depweb.state.pa.us.