DEP to Fine Stell Enterprises

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The Department of Environmental Protection will fine Stell Enterprises for failing to control wayward dust at a demolition site in the city of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Stell Enterprises is demolishing a former Salvation Army building.

The company had been using water to control dust at the location, but when temperatures dropped below freezing, employees stopped the practice and work at the site kicked up dust, said DEP spokeswoman Colleen Connolly.

Complaints and a video sent to the DEP prompted the department to send an inspector to the site.

Stell Enterprises is cooperating with the DEP, Connolly said. The department considers the air quality violation a “willful violation,” because the company knew it was supposed to keep dust down, and in fact had used water to tamp down dust earlier in the demolition, but stopped when temperatures made that impossible.

“Water freezing up is not a reason to ignore safety measures,” Connolly said. “If it’s too cold, they must shut down. That’s the option. It’s not their fault, but the weather variables are part of what they must deal with.”

The company agreed to stop work until it can use water at the site. Connolly said the department is still calculating the amount of the fine.

DEP has cited Stell Enterprises for waste management practices in the past. The company paid a $300 fine for not having a proper fire extinguisher in 2006 and a $100 fine for not marking the specific type of waste a vehicle was carrying in 2009. The company addressed three other citations without paying a fine.

DEP also cited the company for an air quality violation in 2011 for tracking dirt across a road at a work site in the Nanticoke area, Connolly said. The company fixed that problem and DEP did not penalize it.

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