Demolition, legal battle continue at former power plant in Springdale PA

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As the fate of the boiler house at the former power plant in Springdale is hung up in the courts, crews continue to take down other buildings at the site.

“Generally speaking, we’ve been making progress on some of the other buildings throughout the site,” said Scott Reschly, vice president of operations for Charah Solutions, the property owner.

Springdale Council renewed Charah’s demolition permit at a meeting earlier this month. About three or four structures are in various stages of demolition, Reschly said.

“We’re continuing to be safe,” he said. “The biggest priority is to maintain our safety performance and our compliance performance.”

The biggest remaining structure — the boiler house — has sat idle as the result of a judge’s order in September. The building was set to be imploded via explosives on Sept. 22, but 16 nearby residents filed an injunction seeking to block the implosion.

The residents claim an implosion of two chimneys at the site in June harmed their properties, health and the community. They said an implosion of the boiler house would do the same.

Defendants in the case argued an implosion is the safest and best way to take down the structure.

After a 12-day hearing, Allegheny County Judge John T. McVay Jr. granted the residents’ injunction Dec. 10.

He ordered the attorneys to discuss a joint comprehensive safety plan for an implosion of the boiler house, have it approved by the Allegheny County Health Department and state Department of Environmental Protection, and discuss the plan in the public meeting.

Once all of those steps were completed, McVay then would consider lifting the injunction, allowing the implosion to proceed.

As ordered, attorneys met Dec. 15 and in the weeks following to discuss a joint comprehensive safety plan.

On Jan. 9, Charah filed a notice of appeal of McVay’s order to the state’s Superior Court.

And in a Thursday filing, Charah provided a status update to McVay. It stated that attorneys made progress during the meetings to discuss a joint comprehensive safety plan for the implosion; however, the residents’ attorneys haven’t agreed to meet with the defendants since the appeal was filed.

“We write to advise the court that Charah welcomes the opportunity to continue to conciliate, and Charah is hopeful that the plaintiffs will continue meeting to discuss a joint comprehensive safety plan for the implosion of the boiler house,” the filing said.

“We’re going to let our legal filings continue to speak for themselves,” said Dave Raphael, an attorney representing Charah.

John Kane, an attorney representing the residents, said Friday that his team will see what happens with the appeal. He questioned why Charah filed the status update to McVay when they also have filed the notice of appeal to a higher court.

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