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ATSDR Press Room

ATSDR Categorizes Alliance Landfill as an Indeterminate Public Health Hazard

Lackawanna County, Scranton, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Empire Sanitary Landfill, aka Alliance Landfill Site, is an indeterminate public health hazard, according to the final version of the health consultation on the site issued by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The landfill is in Taylor Borough, Lackawanna County, Pa.

ATSDR assigns the indeterminate public health hazard category to sites where critical information is lacking. In this case, no current sampling data exist to identify and quantify landfill-related air contaminants in the community, the health consultation says. Nevertheless, recent shutdowns of the landfill raise concerns about the landfill's compliance and emission controls, the report notes.

ATSDR recommends that ambient air monitoring for volatile organic compounds and particulate matter be conducted to evaluate the potential health impact on nearby populations. As part of the consultation's public health action plan, ATSDR contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection about developing an air-sampling plan to assess exposure of residents living near the landfill. ATSDR can help review a sampling plan, says the consultation.

The purpose of the public health action plan is twofold: first, to ensure that the health consultation provides a plan to eliminate environmental sampling data gaps; and, second, to evaluate additional data to determine if residents are being exposed to air contaminant levels that might affect their health. ATSDR is committed to work with all parties to see the plan implemented.

The public health consultation was previously made available for public review and comment. The final version includes the comments and ATSDR's responses.

The final version of the document is available at

Taylor Public Library
200 Union St.
Taylor, PA

Ransom Township Board of Supervisors
2435 Hickory Lane
Clarks Summit, PA

Taylor Borough Council
122 Union St.
Taylor, PA

Old Forge Borough Council
314 Main St.
Old Forge, PA

For more information, community members can contact Environmental Health Scientist Alaric Denton or Health Communications Specialist Youlanda Outin, toll-free, at 1-888-422-8737. Regional Representative Tom Stukas also may be contacted at 215-814-3142. Callers should refer to the Empire Sanitary Landfill/Alliance Landfill site in Taylor Borough, Pa.

ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the human health effects of exposure to hazardous substances.

Established by Congress in 1980 under the Superfund law, ATSDR conducts public health assessments at each of the sites on the EPA National Priorities List, as well as other sites when petitioned. Headquartered in Atlanta, ATSDR is staffed by more than 400 health professionals including epidemiologists, physicians, toxicologists, engineers and public health educators.

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