Stone operation’s noise, dust questioned by supervisor

BY PAT FARNELLI

A Harford supervisor said he feels a local stone operation is violating the township’s noise ordinance and raising a thick cloud of dust while crushing stone during late night and early morning operations.

During the Tuesday, Nov. 12, township meeting, Chairman Garry Foltz said the stone quarry, visible from his home, is running stone crushers and jack hammers late at night and early in mornings, and that a great deal of stone dust is rising from the operation and obscuring the valley.

“I have seen that quarry gray with dust on days that are dry, a constant horrendous dust cloud,” Foltz said. “Every dry day, it’s bad. You cannot see the houses in that valley, it is that thick with dust, for an entire mile. There are two quarries there that have merged together now.”

The township has no authority to deal with dust in the air, Foltz said.

Foltz also said that the quarry is in violation of the township’s noise ordinance, which he drafted himself. He said that the quarry was not up and running before the ordinance went into effect, and that it is not complying with the regulations requiring industry operators to shut down noisy machinery by 11 p.m. at the latest, and to not commence operation of such equipment until after 7 a.m.

Foltz said the township has received several phone calls and three written complaints from one neighboring family.

Supervisor Sue Furney said, “The noise has been an ongoing issue for a long time.”

Visible emissions can be reported to the PA Department of Environmental Protection, Furney said.

Foltz said that he went on a tour of another quarry operation, and “the water truck was always right there, wetting down the stone as it was being crushed, watering down the roads as the trucks went back and forth.”
Foltz noted that the expense of dust control on township roads will now be taken from the impact fee funds for the township, and is not included in the proposed budget for 2014. He voiced his disagreement with this decision.

He objected to paying for dust control out of the impact fee funding, and said he felt the funds would be better used to purchase new vehicles and equipment.

He also disagreed with what he said was Furney and Supervisor Doug Phelps’s decision to add another full time road employee.

Phelps said that Furney and Roadmaster Jim Phelps had both come up with figures, within $3,000 of each other, for adding on another worker. Foltz said that Furney had suggested that another fulltime person could be added, using impact fee funding, which Foltz figured would cost another $107,000 per year.

Furney said that she suggested another be hired for the heaviest six months of the year for road work.

“It was just a proposal, I knew that I could not be here on the 23rd for the budget meeting,” Furney said.

There was a motion to approve paying Barhite Excavating for Tyler Lake Road project at $34,757.60.

A Tyler Lake Road project was completed using the Dirt and Gravel Road program.

Conrad Owens, newly elected to the supervisor seat currently held by Foltz, also attended the meeting.

Two of the township’s auditors attended the meeting. At the October meeting, Foltz objected to Furney’s pension but the topic did not come up at the November meeting.

Foltz voted no to the bill list in both October and November because of his disapproval of Furney’s pension.

Copies of the 2004 and 2005 auditors’ organizational meetings have been sent to the township, regarding the auditors’ approval of Furney’s pension, according to the October minutes prepared by Furney.

Foltz objected to the minutes as being “vague,” and asked that the tapes of the meetings be included with the minutes.

Engineer David Klepadlo requested a $200 monthly increase, from $2,000 to $2,200, for running the municipal sewer plant. The DEP now requires him to be present at the sewer plant daily to conduct pH testing and other maintenance, according to new regulations which will officially go into effect on Jan. 1, 2004. The supervisors approved the wage increase.

Foltz recommended replacing the Ford 350 service truck. He said that he and Roadmaster Phelps have looked at numerous used trucks, and that it is actually cheaper to purchase a new crew cab Ford F350 with a backup alarm and 4-wheel drive.

“The budget has a 15 percent increase over last year,” Foltz said. “I cannot support it.”

Furney made a motion to advertise the budget for 2014, which was seconded by Supervisor Doug Phelps. Foltz noted that he was opposed to the budget. But the budget will be advertised for public review passed by the two “yes” votes.

Foltz also announced, “I would like to exercise my right as township supervisor and chair person to have two meetings per month, and schedule a meeting for the fourth Tuesday at 7 p.m. for general purposes.”