Appeal from the Order of the Environmental Hearing Board in case of In the Matter of: Mill Service, Inc. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Resources, Docket No. 74-253-C.
H. Woodruff Turner, with him J. Richard Lauver, John E. Beard, III, and Kirkpatrick, Lockhart, Johnson and Hutchison, for appellant.
Eric Pearson, with him Patrick C. McGinley, Special Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.
[ 21 Pa. Commw. Page 643]
This case is an appeal by Mill Service, Inc. (appellant) from a decision and order of the Pennsylvania Environmental
[ 21 Pa. Commw. Page 644]
Hearing Board (Board), sustaining an action of the Department of Environmental Resources revoking appellant's industrial waste permit. We find the Department abused its discretion in taking such action and modify the Board's order.
Appellant owns and operates an industrial waste treatment facility in South Huntingdon Township, Pennsylvania, which is in part of the Sewickley Creek Watershed. In the course of its business, appellant collects an acidic waste product known as "pickling liquor" from area steel plants, neutralizes the acid, and dispenses the treated waste into large earthen lagoons.
On February 27, 1974, pursuant to The Clean Streams Law (Act), Act of June 22, 1937, P.L. 1987, as amended, 35 P.S. § 691.1 et seq., appellant applied to the Department for an industrial waste permit to authorize the construction of an additional, fourth lagoon. At the time, appellant had been operating with three lagoons without a permit. Upon completion of the new facilities, appellant intended to empty and abandon existing lagoons numbers two and three. An agreement between appellant and the Department was entered into which governed the operation of the existing facilities until the application could be reviewed.
A permit was issued to appellant on August 13, 1974, which approved the new construction and provided for the operation and maintenance of the three existing lagoons. However, the permit contained conditions which prohibited the discharge of waste material in any quantity and under any circumstances into the waters of the Commonwealth unless prior approval was received from the Department.
Three months later, on November 14, 1974, a Department field investigator, pursuant to a complaint, entered appellant's facility and found that waste contained in lagoon number three was entering Sewickley Creek ...