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CHAMBERS DEVELOPMENT COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/23/84)

decided: April 23, 1984.

CHAMBERS DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, INC., APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, EX REL. ALLEGHENY COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT, APPELLEE



Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ex rel. Allegheny County Health Department v. Chambers Development Company, Inc., No. S.A. 1478 of 1981 and No. S.A. 255 of 1982.

COUNSEL

George Shorall, for appellant, Chambers Development Company, Inc.

Robert G. Borgoyn, Jr., Assistant County Solicitor, with him Mark F. Nowak, Assistant County Solicitor, and James H. McLean, County Solicitor, for appellant, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ex rel. Allegheny County Health Department.

Judges Williams, Jr., Craig and Colins, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 624]

Chambers Development Co., Inc. appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, which affirmed a decision of a district justice finding Chambers guilty of two summary violations for improperly accepting sewage sludge at its landfill operation. Chambers also appeals an administrative determination by a county hearing officer, finding that Chambers failed to file timely groundwater monitoring reports. We must determine whether the Allegheny County Health Department (county) had authority to prosecute Chambers for the sludge violations and whether the appeal from the administrative decisions is interlocutory.

Under permits from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources and the county, Chambers operates a solid waste disposal site. In 1978, Chambers and DER had entered into an agreement which represented the parties' settlement of a dispute concerning a methane problem at the landfill. In 1981, the county, under authority granted to it by section 106 of the Solid Waste Management Act,*fn1 enacted in 1980, filed a complaint before District Justice Ambrose, alleging that Chambers had, on two occasions, accepted human sewage sludge, a violation of its permits. After conviction, Chambers appealed to the

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 625]

    court of common pleas at docket number SA 1478 of 1981 in that court, which affirmed the conviction for accepting sewage sludge, Chambers' appeal from the county administrative determination on groundwater monitoring, dated in 1982, was entered at docket number SA 255-1982; although the court's summary conviction affirmance also bears that docket number, the court record contains no proceedings on the merits of the administrative decision.

Sewage Violations

Chambers contends that the county had no enforcement authority at its landfill because the terms of the 1978 agreement provided that DER would be the sole enforcement agency for all federal, state and local regulations.

Chambers bases that contention on paragraph 13 of the agreement, which provides in part:

If Chambers fails to comply in a timely manner with any provision of this Agreement, then DER may at its sole option and discretion proceed to institute any legal or enforceable actions available for the enforcement of this Agreement, for any violations of any of the laws of the ...


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