Elk County Solid Waste Authority members voted on Tuesday afternoon to send letters to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the governor's office requesting information as to why DEP closed an investigation on Jersey Valley Recycling without taking any action.
According to Russ Braun, Elk County Solid Waste Authority chairman, the authority was first alerted to the situation in August.
"The authority became aware [that Jersey Valley Recycling] was illegally accepting light bulbs, fluorescent lamps, and when DEP started looking into where they were going, they found quite a bit of stuff out there: three tractor-trailer loads of computers, electronics and stuff like that. They were burning it," Braun said.
Braun explained that a notice of violation from DEP had been sent to Jersey Valley Recycling owner Leroy Himes Sr.
DEP's general inspection report from the investigation states that it was determined that "Jersey Valley Recycling has been processing ballast units by removing the metal cases and then breaking the tar/resin insulation with a hammer (spillage of ballast insulation on the ground was evident). Once a sufficient amount of insulation has been removed to separate the internal components (autotransformer and inductor), the internal components are placed in a metal basket and then in a wood-fired stove to burn off the remaining ballast insulation and other combustible materials."
Bekki Titchner, Elk County recycling and solid waste coordinator, explained that ballasts, depending on their age, are considered hazardous waste.
"Anyone who is actually handling them as a recycler has to have the proper permit from the state to do that," Titchner said.
DEP's report indicated that Himes did not have the permit required to process or burn the waste materials.
The general inspection report also indicated that signs of other waste burning were observed at the facility.
For more on this story see the October 28 edition of The Daily Press.