Northampton Press

Thursday, November 14, 2019

E. Allen gets update on Keystone permit

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Drop in water table not expected to affect wells for possibly decades

At the East Allen Township Board of Supervisors’ regular meeting Sept. 26, resident Tom Miller updated the board on his discussion with Keystone Cement and its permit application.

Keystone has a permit application to increase the size of its mining operation, which will impact residents in the area. Miller has a private water system serving a manufactured home community, prompting his concerns about potential disruptions in the aquifer that serves the township.

“I had a very good conversation with Keystone, and they treated me well,” Miller said. “I got answers to my questions. I suggest the homeowners who have questions get in contact with them.”

The township has addressed the situation and prepared a letter to Keystone asking for a better explanation of the details in the permit. The permit is a lengthy application — more than 100 pages. The details stretch to nearly 500 pages.

Miller learned the aquifer around Keystone Cement is cordoned off from other aquifers in the township. Keystone has a detailed map of the various aquifer pools serving the township.

According to the permit, 65 residences have shallow wells supplied by the Keystone aquifer. The enhanced digging proposed at the site is estimated to eventually drop the water table around 40 feet. That could cause problems for shallow wells along Jacksonville Road.

The good news is that it could take 30 years of incremental drops before the table reaches its lowest level. Droughts could hasten the time frame. It is not a panic situation that will disrupt a household this week, but it is something that needs to be part of long-term planning.

The unknown factor is the effect blasting will have on wells and property in the area. Residents reported the blasting seems to be stronger. According to Miller, Keystone has an alert system to let residents know when blasting is scheduled.

In other news, Solicitor Joseph Piperato announced the state passed legislation allowing an additional residential building on agricultural land. As Piperato explained, the additional building was allowed but was restricted to immediate family use in the past. The new rules allow for anyone to occupy the building. The new rules will allow agricultural workers to live on site.

Township Manager Brent Green announced the bid for a traffic signal at Hanoverville and Airport roads is approved. The bid includes raising a steel support arm that is often hit by trucks.