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Friday, November 14, 2014

DEP Awards Contract to Wayne County Company to Extinguish Coal Refuse Fire in Lackawanna County

DEP Awards Contract to Wayne County Company to Extinguish Coal Refuse Fire in Lackawanna County

WILKES-BARRE -- The Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) today announced it has awarded Leeward Construction, Inc., of Honesdale a $498,400 contract to excavate and quench a coal refuse bank fire in the Eynon section of Archbald Borough, Lackawanna County. The work at Ed Staback Park, where the fire is located, is scheduled to begin on Saturday, Nov.15.

“This project will address significant mine fire that will result in a safer, healthier environment for area residents,” said to Mike Korb, Director, Program Manager, Wilkes-Barre District, BAMR. “Residents will see quite a bit of activity at the fire site, but can be assured it is all in an effort to eliminate this hazard.

The fire was discovered near the coal refuse bank on Oct. 20, and reported to DEP’s Wilkes-Barre office. Local public works and fire companies were unsuccessful in their attempts to dig out and extinguish the fire.

On Oct. 28, DEP hired a contractor to drill near the fire to determine its depth and intensity. The contractor drilled 25 boreholes, three of which were 20 to 40 feet deep and registered at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The depth of the fire is still unknown; however it measures approximately 35 feet in diameter on the surface. The area to be excavated will likely be less than one acre.

The fire excavation and quenching project will consist of constructing access roads, establishing a water supply, applying firefighting foam, excavating and quenching the refuse material and re-grading. Upon completion of the project, any disturbed areas will be seeded, cleaned and the equipment removed from the site.

Leeward Construction will be required to have approved gas monitoring equipment on site at all times to check for carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and oxygen. Those equipment will take a minimum of three readings a day, within 20 feet of the nearby homes or as directed by DEP.

Funding for the project is provided by the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, which is subsidized by the coal industry via a tonnage fee on coal mined.

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