Cecil officials to meet with DEP in private
CECIL – Groundwater test results at Cecil Township 23 impoundment will be released soon, but Cecil officials must first meet in private with the state Department of Environmental Protection to get the details.
Township Manager Don Gennuso said supervisors asked for a copy of the test results prior to a meeting with the DEP – tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday – and requested that it be a public meeting. Gennuso said DEP officials would meet only in private with supervisors and would not provide test results beforehand.
“To me, it’s troubling,” Gennuso said. “It should be troubling to all of Pennsylvania.”
DEP spokesman John Poister said test results are still being analyzed, and that the DEP prefers to meet in person to explain results related to any potential chemicals detected in groundwater at the wastewater impoundment on Swihart Road.
“It’s important that we be there to answer any questions and give a complete picture of what we found,” Poister said. “I think it would be probably not in the best interest of everybody, and particularly the community, to put (test results) out and not have any explanation for what people are seeing.”
Cecil officials already had been planning to meet with the DEP to ask questions about the structure of the Cecil impoundment, formerly called Worstell, in light of recent leaks at Range Resource’s Jon Day and Yeager impoundments in Amwell Township. The meeting became even more timely when the DEP started conducting tests at the Cecil impoundment after Range reported in July that it had been seeing chloride spikes in a groundwater monitoring well since January.
Supervisors and the DEP faced criticism last September for holding a private meeting to discuss the Worstell impoundment. State Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, criticized the DEP’s handling of the Cecil impoundment at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting and urged the board not to accept a private conference.
“I would urge the board of supervisors to refuse to accept anything less than the complete and total truth from the DEP,” White said. “No more private meetings behind closed doors. No more half-truths and blatant lies.”
Board Chairman Andy Schrader and Vice Chairwoman Cindy Fisher disagreed with the nature of the private meeting and inability to review data prior to the meeting, but ultimately agreed to move forward.
Fisher expressed concerns that a difference of opinion on the board would affect the information that supervisors relay to residents. The board discussed bringing a court reporter to Monday’s meeting, but Poister said that should not be necessary at an informal meeting.
“We don’t see the need for a court reporter for this meeting,” Poister said. “We expect to have a free and open discussion and a question-and-answer session with the supervisors.”
Gennuso urged any residents with questions about the impoundment to submit them to the township via phone, email or letter before Monday’s tentative meeting.