The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 18, 2013

Metals found on Pennsylvania House site won't delay project, developer says

By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item

LEWISBURG — Hazardous substances found on the Pennsylvania House Commons property in East Buffalo Township do not pose an immediate danger to anyone, said the engineer who did the tests for Giant Foods, a possible tenant at the development.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is still reviewing his report, said David Clouser, of Advantage Engineers of Mechanicsburg, who conducted testing at the site for Giant and wrote the report.

DEP has 60 days to review and respond to the report and will develop a remedial action plan. Clouser said he expects to hear the agency’s initial report at the beginning of August and a remediation action plan in September.

Two metals, arsenic and thallium, were among five metals found in groundwater at the site, and both exceeded statewide health standards for residential and nonresidential properties, but just slightly, he said.

“In many cases, the procedure would be an activity-use restriction preventing people from drinking groundwater at site, for instance,” he said.

The other volatile and semi-volatile organic substances found at the former furniture manufacturing site “have no bearing on the uses” proposed for the site, Clouser said, “and the portions of the site where this was found is strictly in the retail area.”

“Overall, it’s relatively minor issues out there,” he said.

 But while the substances pose no immediate danger, they will need to be cleaned up, and DEP has several options for how that’s done, Clouser said, adding that he’s still working with DEP to decide how to mitigate the issue.

Any remediation should not delay the Penn House Commons ground-breaking projected for this fall, said Howard Schlesinger, principal of Meridian Development Partners of New York, which owns the 41-acre site and plans to convert it to a commercial, recreational and residential plaza.