City’s Water Authority cleaning up after DEP violation

Local News

ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Altoona Water Authority recently violated a policy from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Earlier this month, DEP representatives visited the westerly waste water treatment plant and notified the water authority they were illegally disposing waste on their property.

Now, the authority is owning up to their mistake and working to solve the problem.

After having an excess of materials from different city projects, the water authority decided to create a new “drying pond,” where the waste material could dry out before disposal.

Unlike the similar areas on the property, this bog was unlined and not permitted.

“We pay per ton to go into a landfill, so the idea was to dry the material down so that it would reduce the expense of disposal,” Todd Musser, the Director of Waste Water Management, said.

Musser added what they did was wrong and they should’ve know better.

“This is in violation of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection,” he said.

Musser said the waste in this “drying pond” was not hazardous.

“It is in no way, shape, or form going to harm anybody or the environment. This would be, at best, low-level sewage waste, so that is taken care of,” he added.

The water authority bought hundreds of tons of saw dust to dry up the waste material. It will be moved to a landfill after analysis results come back.

Representatives from the DEP will be returning to the plant on Friday. Musser is hopeful they will approve the final steps, including cleaning up the illegal drying pond and proper disposal of that material.

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