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May 2001 update - compiled by Helane Shields - prepared for WWW by ESRA

Date: November 26, 2001
From: Len Martin

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March 16, 1999 - At a DEP public hearing held for the proposed 522 acre site, the speculation of a young child's death was mentioned again. Out of respect to Tony's parents - Tony's name was not mentioned at this public meeting. Over 300 concerned residents attended. Rick Ryver, a concerned parent, asked Richard Stehouwer, Penn State University Professor (who normally attends DEP public hearings for PA DEP) "What if a truck hauling this stuff, whatever you want to call it, sludge, passes our schools and wrecks, are there any health risks to the children in that school? Yes or No? Are there health risks due to the bacteria, fungi, parasitic worms, et cetera, that is in this stuff? Are there health risks to the children, my children, the children of the people here tonight? Are there any health risks, yes or no?" Mr. Stehouwer answered: "Well, if you are asking for an absolute answer, the answer has to be yes. There are risks." This was written word for word from the actual transcript of the hearing.

June 18, 1999 - In response to the 522 acre sludge site permit application - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released this information; "Department of Environmental Protection had investigated the claim that a young child allegedly contracted a bacterial infection while riding his four wheeler on a biosolids amended site, which resulted in the death of the child." DEP concluded "the child died from a bacterial infection from a bee sting while riding a 4 wheeler prior to any biosolids being spread in the area." This statement was sent to area residents by PA DEP and was also published in "The Progress", a Clearfield County newspaper.

June 19, 1999 - Prompted by DEP's erroneous statement - truck weigh slips for the site next to Tony's house were retrieved from the Rush Township office. The slips indicated approximately 5,600 tons of Class B Sewage Sludge (243 truck loads) had been delivered and spread prior to Tony's death.

June 25,1999 - Joseph Behun, Tony's father, infuriated with PA DEP for releasing false information requested the hospitals release all his son's medical records and x-rays to him. After receiving the records he sent copies to EPA Microbiologist Dr. David Lewis and also to a head Pathologist of a leading medical college.

July 7, 1999 - Wheelabrator Water Technologies Inc., BioGro Division spread Class B Non - Exceptional Quality Biosolids from the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on two strip mine sites in Rush Township Centre County, PA. Several mine workers became ill. * Please see UMWA synopsis below (at the end of Behun's synopsis) *

On July 7, 1999 - When DEP Doug Saylor was asked how DEP investigated Tony Behun's death, he answered, "we spoke to the parents." This was not true and when confronted, Mr. Saylor said "he had made a mistake, they had spoken to friends of the family instead." When Mr. Saylor was asked for the names of the friends who DEP spoke to, he could not provide one name.

July 8, 1999 - Centre County, Rush Township supervisors unanimously adopted a sludge ordinance in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of it's residents. However, the day before the supervisors were to vote on the ordinance, BioGro spread sludge on two sites located in Rush Township. This appeared to be an attempt by BioGro to grandfather themselves under the Ordinance.

November 4, 1999 - Rush Township supervisors adopted a Tipping Fee Ordinance (1999-II) that requires a $40.00 fee for each ton of sludge land applied in Rush Township. The Ordinance was adopted to protect health, safety and welfare of the area residents, because of concerns of Tony's death and because of strong odors at a sludge site in 1996; reference. The tipping fee pays for the independent testing of the sludge to ensure its compliance and safety under existing regulations.


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