The state Department of Environmental Protection is hosting a public meeting to answer questions from residents about a once-controversial stump dump that could reopen in the Slate Belt.
The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Lower Mount Bethel Township Centerfield building, 6984 S. Delaware Drive. Representatives from the DEP, Northampton County Conservation District, and Gravel Hill Enterprises, Inc. will be at hand to answer questions from the public.
Gravel Hill this past March applied for a beneficial use Waste Management General permit to transport stumps, tree limbs and other untreated wood to the facility, 10143 Grave Hill Road, which will be ground-into-mulch or compost material for landscaping purposes. That application was deemed administratively complete on May 22. The county’s conservation district is reviewing a national Pollutant Discharge and Elimination System permit from the company for discharge purposes during construction and the clearing of 30 acres of tree stumps. That application was deemed administratively complete on November 25.
Both permit applications are currently under review by DEP’s waste management staff and the county’s conservation district.
The stump dump, formerly known as the Stine stump dump, was operated for years by previous owners Clayton and Michael Stine. It was known among neighbors for noisy nighttime operations and several fires — including one that smoldered for months. Gerald DiDomenico, owner of Gravel Hill Enterprises, bought the property in 2008 at U.S. Marshals’ sale.
Township officials in 2015 reached a settlement agreement with DiDomenico, placing restrictions on any new stump grinding operations, including:
- A limit of 300 trucks per week coming in and out of the property, with operation hours confined to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
- A requirement that six sound meters be placed in various spots on the property, with quarterly reports of data collected by the meters to be submitted to the township. Noise above 65 decibels at the property line would be a violation of the agreement.
Eighteen acres of the 132-acre property are expected to be used for the new operation, which will bring in stumps, tree limbs, untreated wood and pallets to be ground into mulch and sold wholesale for landscaping, according to the application. Existing tree stumps and debris will be cleaned on an additional 30 acres.
Cleanup will be phased over several years, according to the application, and the area will be seeded and restored to open fields once cleared.