DEP officials won't discuss McAllister's Mill
By JEFFREY J. MITCHELL
For Dispatch/Sunday News
Officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection couldn't explain what happened to an environmental study they said was conducted near McAllister's Mill along Baltimore Pike in Gettysburg.
The site, used as a dumping site for borough municipal waste, came under scrutiny last year when Civil War preservationists tried to have the dump cleaned and questioned whether the waste was affecting the Rock Creek Watershed, which lies adjacent to the area.
Regional DEP officials said they were familiar with the McAllister's Mill dumping site, which consists of 11 acres of borough land, but couldn't identify a formal study conducted in the area.
DEP official Donald Hagerich, contacted Friday, said he didn't want to talk to the press about McAllister's Mill and referred questions to community relations coordinator Sandra Roderick.
Roderick, of the south-central DEP office, said last week she wasn't familiar with any studies that have been conducted or will be in the area.
Borough and township officials also said they were not aware of a DEP study or analysis of the property.
Concerns: "We're concerned that things could be buried under the mound that could have water quality implications and issues," Cumberland Township manager Ron Horton said.
In July, DEP community relations coordinator Karen Sitler said an employee investigated the site but was waiting for a Federal Emergency Management Agency study of the area to make determinations. Borough manager Charlie Sterner said last year that Cumberland Township had a copy of the FEMA study.
Members from the Watershed Alliance of Adams County said they hadn't heard of any DEP study being conducted near McAllister's Mill and questioned whether the construction waste would even effect the watershed because, as they put it, "many of the materials being dumped are already natural to the Earth."
The waste disposal area was enough of a concern that the Civil War Preservation Trust in Washington, D.C., listed the Gettysburg National Military Park as an at-risk site because of the dump.
CWPT spokesman Jim Campi said he had walked the site last year and found it aesthetically and environmentally unappealing.
"The dumping area consists of gravel and other road construction waste," Campi said. "(Rock Creek) that lies next to it must be receiving some type of runoff. Because this lies next to the battlefield, it has become a concern to us."
Campi and other preservationists spearheaded a movement last year to have the borough clean the site, sending letters to the borough and starting an online petition.
Borough officials had said they had no plans to clean or stop using the site.