Whitehall-Coplay Press

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Board hears of blasting concerns

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS Special to The Press in Local News

Residents allege production at Egypt Quarry shakes houses, causes odor

Blasting at Egypt Quarry not only shook their homes, but their yards as well, neighbors told Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners at its meeting Aug. 13.

Township residents spoke at the meeting to complain about an “ongoing problem” of blasting at the quarry, 4160 S. Church St., owned by New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co. Inc.

“No one told me when I bought my house that there was blasting on a regular basis,” resident Linda Bell said. “The complete house shakes. I have to watch where I put breakables — it’s that bad.”

She told the board she is worried about structural damage to her home.

“The blasts literally rock the house,” Ed Kaintz said. “The blasts are loud and long.”

He said he complained to the board a year ago but alleged “nobody seems to care.”

Lee Rackus, bureau chief of planning, zoning and development, said the township has no jurisdiction over blasting.

Board President Dennis Hower suggested residents lodge a complaint about the blasting with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, which oversees that type of activity.

Kaintz also told the board he smells a bad odor when trucks dump fill in the quarry early in the morning.

Commissioner Jeffrey J. Warren said he, too, had smelled something at the quarry and had tried to report it to the state Department of Environmental Protection but was told he had to be a nearby resident to file a complaint. He suggested Kaintz report the smell to the DEP since he lives nearby.

In other business, township resident Mario Spagnoletti expressed concern about a spill of more than 9 million gallons of sewer-filled water into the Little Lehigh Creek earlier this month and wondered if it would affect waterways in the township fed by tributaries of the Little Lehigh.

Joseph Marx Jr. said he believed the township was in a better situation than other communities along the waterway. Coplay Whitehall Sewer Authority has spent $15 million on maintaining and improving its wastewater system, more than any other community in the Lehigh Valley, Marx said.

“We are one of the only authorities that took proactive measures,” said Marx, who also is a member of CWSA.

Christopher Grim, township emergency management coordinator, reported the heavy rain Aug. 3 and 4 and nearly 3 inches of additional rain received Monday forced the closure of Eberhart Road and caused flooding on Water Street and Lehigh Street and at Hokendauqua Park & Playground.

“Hokendauqua park was inundated,” Mayor Michael Harakal Jr. agreed. “It was under several feet of water.”

Commissioner Jeffrey Dutt announced Whitehall Historical Preservation Society will present a historic walking tour of Egypt 10 a.m. Aug. 25. The tour will meet at Egypt Community Church, 4129 S. Church St., and cover 1.3 miles. He estimated it will take two-and-a-half hours. The walk is free for society members and $5 for all others. To participate, call 610-776-7280.

Deputy Mayor John D. Meyers told the board the township has received $90,000 in delinquent garbage fees this year as a result of hiring Portnoff Law Firm to pursue delinquencies. In past years, he said, the township lost $600,000 due to unpaid bills.