The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 19, 2014

dust-up over dirt in Northumberland

By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item

— NORTHUMBERLAND — Neighbors who live near what is now the C.W. Rice Middle School demolition site on Hanover Street  are concerned that dust and debris might be harmful to their families.

At Tuesday night’s Borough Council meeting, residents wondered if some of what is being torn down might have contained asbestos.

Complains were also registered about debris blowing onto the yards of adjacent homes.

While two homeowners raised those arguments at Borough Council, another neighborhood homeowner, Harold Noecker, who lives directly across from the construction site, said he hasn’t had any problems with either blowing dust or debris.

“I guess it all depends on which way the wind is blowing,” he said Wednesday afternoon.

Flynn Wrecking, of Pottsville, has a crew tearing down the school in preparation for construction of a new middle school. Demolition is expected to be complete by summer.

The $17 million project has a completion date of December 2015.

Several attempts to reach Flynn Wrecking by phone on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Borough code enforcement officer Ted McCollum and Councilman Adam Klock both drove by the demolition site Wednesday morning before the afternoon rain.

Both McCollum and Klock said that no one was hosing down the area while they were there. Spraying water is a way to cut down on drifting dust at a construction site.

A Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Agency inspector from the Williamsport office was scheduled to take a look at the safety practices used by Flynn workers, but by 3 p.m. had not yet arrived at the site.

Meanwhile, Klock said, “I can’t really comment on safety issues until I know more. Believe me though, we are looking into it and we’re very concerned about people’s safety.”