Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Waste Management/Synagro's motion to dismiss appeal of DEP permit waiver for Plainfield Township crap bakery is DENIED

One principal issue with the proposed Synagro biosolids plant in Plainfield Township is the fact that it would located a mere 5 to 10 feet from the boundary of a former quarry that is now a man-made pond. Sheet flow, or rather shit flow of runoff from the loading, unloading, truck maneuvering, and truck wash areas will all flow towards this water body.  While Synagro is proposing that there will be safeguards to prevent liquefied shit from entering the pond, anyone with half a brain knows full well it will happen regularly.  Even Syangro's consultant Tom Pullar has stated it is a hope that a vegetated buffer adjacent to the pond will filter out any shit that comes its way.

DEP has been working with Synagro to slam approval of this project through, and doing whatever it can to make it easier for Synagro and pave the way for more shit bakeries the breadth of Pennsylvania.  The DEP instructed Synagro to apply for a General permit instead of an Individual permit, which would make it easier to approve permits for future similar projects across the state.

Another helping hand that DEP has lent to Synagro is to grant a waiver so that a water quality permit will not be required for the pond.  This pond exchanges water with two nearby high quality creeks.   DEP appears to not give a shit, pun intended.  The township appealed this decision, and you can find the docket and background here.

Legal issues involving the DEP are handled in a special court - the Environmental Hearing Board.  The township appealed a statement by DEP that this waiver would be granted, and Grand Central (Waste Management - owner of land that would be leased to Synagro for its plant) filed a Motion to Dismiss.

The Court was underwhelmed by Grand Central's motion to dismiss

A week ago, Grand Central's motion was denied by the court.  Interestingly, the court found the same deficiency with the motion that the township has found - there are few to no details known about the sedimentation basin, how it is currently being used or how it will be used.  And the only details in this lawsuit thus far have been supplied by the township.  The motion was dismissed without prejudice that Grand Central might supply more detail in a later filing.

"Our issue with Grand Central's motion is that it provides almost no contextual or background information on its site or the sedimentation basin addressed in the letter.  Grand Central has not explained what the site is, what happens at the site, or how Sedimentation Basin No.2 fits in at the site.  We are told that Sedimentation Basin No. 2 is currently covered by Solid Waste Permit No. 100265 and NPDES Permit No. PA0074083, but we do not know what that means exactly, or how that relates to what the Department is saying in its letter."
"Only the township has taken the time to address in even remote detail what it contends is the function and history of Sedimentation Basin No. 2
In other words, Grand Central's argument sucks just as badly as Synagro's presentation to the planning commission, and the EHB isn't buying it the same way the planning commission and township consultants didn't.

This means that the discovery phase of this case, already underway, will continue.  What should be produced in discovery is what Grand Central should have included with its motion to dismiss to demonstrate to the court that everything is hunky-dory.  Instead they produced roughly zero.

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