The Alliance For A Clean Environment
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In The Pottstown Landfill Gas

HISTORY: Radiation was first confirmed to be in the Pottstown Landfill in a report which was discussed at a PA DEP meeting held in Pottstown in March, 1997.

  • This initiated the cancer investigation by the Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD). They were to look for a link to radiation in the Pottstown Landfill and elevated cancers.
  • Studies have linked low-level radiation with leukemia.
  • While the MCHD found leukemia double the rate of the state, a permit was issued 2 weeks after the cancer report was announced in January 1998 with no further testing of Pottstown Landfill leachate or gas for radiation.
  • Even though only 3 cells of the landfill were tested and one was 4 times higher than the other two, nothing was done by DEP except to issue a permit for landfill expansion.
  • Radiation testing was done over a year later in response to public demand and on air downwind of the landfill, not the gas. Radiation was found to be in the air and the filters.
DEP’s public response document of June 14, 2001 has now confirmed that RADIATION in the gas WILL be piped to Occidental.


Page 21 – DEP states “There will be tritium radiation in the landfill gas piped to Occidental Chemical.” Yet in an August 28 letter from Francine Carlini to ACE – she states that no radiation is “expected” when the gas is burned at Occidental.

Point: DEP admits radiation is in the gas and will be piped to Occidental, yet they want us to believe it won’t be emitted out of the stacks. Where will it go? Radiation can not be burned off. Are we to believe it magically disappears? Is this the sound science DEP based its decision on?

Page 21 – DEP states “Very little is known about synergy between tritium (radiation) and other materials: however, tritium is not a public health problem while it is in the landfill.” Points: DEP admits tritium radiation is a public health problem. DEP admits it has no idea how hazardous to our health this radiation will be when mixed and added to the other massive amounts of hazardous substances emitted into our the air from Occidental.
  • WHY has DEP allowed this gas, confirmed to contain tritium radiation, a public health threat, to be transported off the landfill, when they say it is not a public health problem “while it is in the landfill?”
Page 15 – DEP states “The amount of risk from radiation exposure will depend on the effective (radiation) dose and that concentration and duration are factors.”-

Point: DEP has no idea how much of a radiation dose will be at any given time, especially when added to tritium and other kinds of radiation from the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant LESS THAN ONE MILE DOWNWIND of Occidental. What is the risk from duration? Who could even hazard a guess how this relates to this project? Pottstown Landfill gas will be emitted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Page 12 – DEP states “Radioactive material was alleged to be from illegal dumping of “low level radioactive waste” by one or more local firms.”

Point: It didn’t have to be dumped illegally. DEP and the NRC permitted massive amounts of wastes containing radioactive materials – for instance 35,000 tons per year every year since 1983 just from nearby Cabot industries. DEP admits it permitted radioactive sludge from Royersford to be dumped and that this will be terminated within the next year. Why not now? DEP admits radiation exposures are risks to our health. Because DEP has permitted this radioactive waste to be dumped in the landfill at so called “safe limits.”
  • Are we to believe radiation won’t harm our health just because DEP claims it was dumped legally in safe amounts? Did they forget we are exposed to all the kinds of radiation dumped in the Pottstown Landfill together, synergized and added to all the other hazardous chemicals in the landfill, not one at a time?
  • Dangerous word games are being played to protect someone and it is not the public. Who? DEP, NRC, the polluters or all of them?
  • ACE is investigating other misleading Pottstown Landfill radiation information in DEP’s June 14 Public Response Document about Cesium-137 and Berillium 7. To learn more, contact ACE.

P.O. Box 3063
Stowe, PA 19464

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