Court upholds Board decision, affirms DEP notice procedures on chloramine use
Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court upheld an Environmental Hearing Board decision on an appeal that paves the way for Pennsylvania American Water Co. to use chloramines as a drinking water disinfectant and affirms that the Department of Environmental Protection provided sufficient notice to the public on the matter...
HARRISBURG, PA, Dec. 10, 2008 -- Commonwealth Court upheld an Environmental Hearing Board decision today on an appeal that paves the way for Pennsylvania American Water Co. to use chloramines as a drinking water disinfectant and affirms that the Department of Environmental Protection provided sufficient notice to the public on the matter.
"DEP provided six different public notices within about two years regarding Pennsylvania American Water's plans to use chloramines as a disinfectant," said Rachel Diamond, DEP southcentral regional director. "The court found that DEP's process for notifying the public was sufficient and abided by all legal requirements."
DEP issued four permits to Pennsylvania American Water to build and operate new and modified water treatment facilities in Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County, and Fairview Township, York County, between March 2004 and March 2006 that would use chloramines as a disinfectant within the distribution system. Chloramines are a combination of chlorine and ammonia.
The department published two permit application notices and four permit issuance notices in the Pennsylvania Bulletin between July 2003 and April 2006. According to Chapter 25 of the Pennsylvania Code, third party appeals must be filed within 30 days of publication of the action in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
The appellant in the case, Susan Pickford, claimed she did not become personally aware of the permits until late July 2007. She filed an appeal with the Environmental Hearing Board in November 2007 on the grounds that the notices did not inform the public of the pending changes in disinfection chemicals.
In May 2008, the hearing board dismissed Pickford's appeal as untimely and stated it did not find anything inaccurate, incomplete or misleading in the published notices. Pickford subsequently appealed the decision in Commonwealth Court, which today upheld the board's decision.
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