Nursery, Composting Facility Sign Cleanup Agreement

Buddies Nursery, Exeter Township, Berks County, and A&M Composting Inc., Lancaster County, have signed an agreement in Commonwealth Court to remove compost for disposal in the Pioneer Crossing Landfill in Exeter Township by Nov. 1.
In 1996 DEP discovered that unfinished compost from the A&M composting facility in Lancaster was being taken to the Exeter Township nursery. The late Donald L. Peifer, co-owner of the nursery, claimed that he was producing topsoil by mixing the compost with red shale. According to state regulations, permits are required for this activity.
Soil tests found that the compost exceeded the acceptable state standards for fecal coliform bacteria and water tests showed the compost piles were discharging into a stream leading to Molasses Creek.
In August 1998 the nursery was ordered to dispose of about 3 acres of the compost-shale material. Peifer refused to comply with the order. Later that month, Peifer died. As a result of Peifer's death and legal difficulties with respect to enforcing the order, the department withdrew the order.
In September 1999, in a continuing effort to have the material removed, the department filed a complaint and motion in Commonwealth Court against Buddies Nursery, Ada Peifer and Harold Hart, co-owner of the nursery, and A&M Composting for violations of environmental laws. A court agreement was signed early this month.
As part of the agreement, Buddies Nursery and A&M Composting will remove all material, including anything buried, from the nursery by Nov. 1. There are approximately 57,000 cubic yards of material on the site.
The agreement also requires the nursery to continue to operate a leachate collection system to prevent compost runoff from entering the stream. The collection system has been operating since summer 1998.
Under the agreement, the material removed from the nursery will be used as cover material at Pioneer Landfill.
A&M Composting and Pioneer Landfill are owned and operated by J. P. Mascaro & Sons, Harleysville, Montgomery County.
<> For more information, contact Sandy Roderick at 717 705-4931 or e-mail

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compiled by Ben Oostdam on February 9, 2001