Texas’s odd history lesson

By LINDA DROLLINGER
Posted 7/28/20

TEXAS TOWNSHIP, PA — The story came out, in part, at the July 20 Texas Township Board of Supervisors meeting, when Dave Rickert voiced an allegation of illegal dumping by the township. It …

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Texas’s odd history lesson

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TEXAS TOWNSHIP, PA — The story came out, in part, at the July 20 Texas Township Board of Supervisors meeting, when Dave Rickert voiced an allegation of illegal dumping by the township. It started when Rickert saw highway department employees digging behind the highway department barn. He went in for a closer look. What he found was road maintenance waste piled in the former D&H Canal trench, including large chunks of concrete and brush removed from roadsides.

Concerned about possible environmental damage to what he thought was a wetlands area, Rickert reported his observation to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) office in Wilkes-Barre. That office dispatched an inspector, who examined the area and reported his findings to Texas Township Board of Supervisors Chair Don Doney.

The concrete came from replacement some years ago of a bridge on Old Willow Avenue near the Halfway House restaurant, explained Doney to the inspector. The Board of Supervisors authorized the private contractor who replaced the bridge to place demolition waste in the canal, which had been used for decades as a landfill of sorts by the township highway department.

The DEP inspector said the canal was not a wetlands area, but advised removal of the bridge demolition waste, brush and soil dumped there by the highway department, anyway. The reason for his advice stunned Doney: by dumping in the canal trench, the highway department was defacing the original infrastructure of a national historic landmark, the D&H Canal.

Doney feared that the cost of removing decades of highway department waste would bankrupt the township, but the DEP assured him that it would work with the township to restore the canal in a cost-effective way. Doney will explain that plan at the next township meeting on Monday, August 3.

More routine business included unanimous agreement on the hiring of new zoning officer Bill Watson; repaving of the town parking lot at a total cost of $8,000-$9,000; discussion of a recent traffic accident near Zefran’s Dental Office at 1214 Texas Palmyra Hwy. that took out five sections of guide rails and two guideposts, and announcement of a 60-day closure of Bear Swamp Road for rehabilitation of the Bear Swamp Road Bridge beginning on July 21.

During public comment, the owner of the former Kozy Korner assisted living facility in Seelyville asked when the stop-work order imposed on his property would be lifted. “That won’t happen until your property is in full compliance with the township zoning ordinance,” Doney said.

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