24 E Blasts

We apologize for the delay in sending this newsletter. Technical issues postponed the sending of this communication until today.

Environmental News

Environmental Justice Policy Interim Final Released by DEP

DEP has released the Interim Final Environmental Justice Policy, along with a link to the latest EJ mapping tool called PennEnviroScreen and the 113-page methodology document, that provides the background for PennEnviroScreen, which DEP plans to update regularly.

DEP has indicated it will begin implementing the interim Final Environmental Justice Policy when it is published in the PA Bulletin, currently scheduled for September 16. The publication date will also be the start of a formal public comment period scheduled to end on October 29. A DEP permit applicant who files a permit application on or after September 16 must use the new PennEnviroScreen tool to determine if the permit’s facility is in an environmental justice area.

Note the definition of Environmental Justice on page 5 of the Policy. In addition, the policy recommends implementation of a comprehensive set of tactics to proactively educate, engage, and empower Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth. DEP will maintain a list of all permit applications for projects (both Trigger and Opt-In Projects) subject to this policy. The list will be accessible to the public and posted on DEP’s EJ Project Portal website and updated regularly by EJ staff (now up to 10 people).

Who Does This Apply To?

The Interim Final EJ Policy applies to both Trigger Projects, as well as Opt-In projects. Opt-In projects are those that DEP may decide to apply this policy to at its discretion.

What Are Trigger Projects?

  • Mining Permits:
    • Large industrial mineral surface and underground mines
    • Underground and surface coal mines
    • Coal refuse disposal and reprocessing
    • Large coal preparation facilities
    • Revisions to the above listed facilities, and
    • Reclamation where biosolids are used

  • NPDES industrial wastewater facilities of 50,000 gallons per day or more
  • Air Permits:
    • New major sources of hazardous air pollutants or criteria pollutants (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and PM10 and PM2.5)
    • Major modification of a major source
  • Waste Permits:
    • Landfills or other disposal facilities
    • Transfer Stations
    • Commercial incinerators and other waste processing facilities
    • Commercial hazardous waste treatment, storage, disposal facilities and
    • Major modifications of the listed facilities
  • Individual Permits For Land Application of Biosolids
  • Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs):
    • New or expanded more than 1,000 animal units
    • CAFOs of greater than 300 animal units in Special Protection Watersheds
    • CAFOs with direct discharge to surface waters

What are Opt-In permits?

DEP staff or members of a community may request projects not specified as Trigger Projects, to be designated as Opt-In Projects. This then triggers an enhanced public participation process into the application review. DEP has a new form for this.

DEP’s EJ Mapping Tool - PennEnviroScreen

The online PennEnviroScreen tool is to be used to define environmental justice areas using 32 various indicators. Those indicators include:

  • Socioeconomic Population
    • Low educational attainment
    • Language isolation
    • Housing-burdened low-income households
    • Poverty levels
    • Unemployment
    • Race
    • Age over 64
    • Age under 5
  • Sensitive Populations
    • Asthma
    • No health insurance
    • Cancer
    • Disability
    • Heart disease
  • Environmental Exposures
    • Toxic air emissions
    • Toxic water emissions
    • Pesticides
    • Traffic density
    • Qzone
    • PM 2.5
    • Diesel particulate
    • Compressor stations
    • Children’s lead risk
  • Environmental Effects
    • Conventional oil/natural gas wells
    • Unconventional oil/natural gas wells
    • Proximity to railroads
    • Land remediation
    • Hazardous waste and storage sites
    • Municipal waste sites
    • Coal mining
    • Impaired lakes and streams
    • Abandoned mining concerns
    • Flood risk

Once DEP has determined a Trigger or designated Opt-In Project permit application is complete, a public participation strategy will be developed by DEP’s OEJ and appropriate regional or district office programs, regional communications managers, and local government liaisons. This project-specific strategy should be designed to “facilitate the participation of all residents within the Area of Concern and the EJ Area census block group(s), and consider the characteristics of the community, the Area of Concern, and the type of facility proposed. At a minimum, in addition to regulatory requirements, the public participation strategy for Trigger and designated Opt-In Projects should evaluate additional outreach methods to engage the public.”

Inspections, Compliance and Enforcement

DEP may exercise its discretion to prioritize the inspections in an EJ Area.

The Department plans to “form an Enforcement and Compliance Team to prioritize inspection and monitoring at sites which have multiple authorizations, multiple on record complaints, habitual violations, sites with high volume generation or unique permit conditions, EJ communities, and sites of significant geographic location and to ensure timely and appropriate responses to violations, implement an efficient criminal referral protocol, and ensure effective collaboration.”

Civil Penalties and Use of Civil Penalty Dollars

“DEP interprets impacts to the environment or the public health and safety at an EJ Area to be a relevant factor in the calculation of a penalty amount for a violation and may include a dollar figure in the penalty amount for such a violation provided there is adequate evidence to support a factual finding that the violation caused the harm and the penalty amount fits within the statutory limits.” This section includes procedures for the municipality’s participation in identifying how the funds will be used. DEP will also notify any relevant EJ community about the existence of this opportunity for their municipality so that the citizens can participate in the decision as to how the funds will be used.

Note that DEP has included in this EJ policy, the “Policy for the Consideration of Community Environmental Projects in Conjunction with Assessment of Civil Penalty” (Policy No. 012-4180-001), which lays out acceptable and unacceptable community projects that can be used as part of the penalty process and other tax considerations, as well as public disclosure requirements.

Methodology Document

This document discusses the PennEnviroScreen model development. The model appears to have been acquired, to some degree, from California’s EJ Screen Tool, CalEnviroScreen 4.0. developed by California OEHHA (Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment). It is highly focused on risk modeling and makes many assumptions.

The document uses EPA’s Risk Screening Environmental Indicators model which models the impact of air pollution on the population. This info is taken from EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory. The document discusses the rationale for each of the above indicators and draws conclusions not necessarily representing direct causal impacts.

Bad Legislation

DEP has indicated that the EJ policy is to allow for greater public participation. However, Rep Vitali has introduced HB 652 which would give DEP the statutory authority to deny a permit application in any EJ area based on cumulative environmental impacts. That bill is now in the House Rules Committee. Additionally, similar legislation was introduced in the Senate (SB 888). We are watching these closely.

We will work with other organizations on comments for this, but would welcome any and all of your thoughts on the issue to allow for substantive comments.

We have also requested the EJ Office present on this at the September Aggregate Advisory Board meeting on September 14th. Once meeting info is posted, it will appear on this web page.

Should you have any questions, contact Josie Gaskey.

New DEP Director of District Mining Operations

Effective August 26, 2023, Randy Shustack, who served as the District Mine Manager for the Pottsville District Mining Office, has accepted the position of Director of District Mining Operations, previously held by Dan Sammarco. This position reports to John Stefanko. Randy will remain in the Pottsville Mining Office.

Randy began his career with DEP in 1993 as a Soil Scientist in the Bureau of Water Quality and has held various positions within the mining program including compliance manager, inspector supervisor, forester and inspector. Randy has over 30 years of experience with DEP and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Delaware Valley University.

Mike Kutney will assume the role of Acting Pottsville DMO Manager and Tiffany Folk will assume the role of Acting Permits Chief.

Should you have any questions, contact Josie Gaskey.

Technical News

Warranty Language to Address Improper Concrete Testing NOW AVAILABLE

At the PACA Town Hall Meeting in April, we had a very informative panel discussion with three attorneys about improper field testing and the challenges it brings for our concrete producers.

Following that meeting, PACA engaged Attorney Lisa Wampler with the firm of Cohen & Segalis to develop language that PACA producers could add to their quotations and mix design submittals to help address these concerns, and to draft guidelines for proper notice and documentation when improper testing occurs in the field.

Attorney Wampler has completed the language for inclusion on quotations and mix design submittals. This language has been developed EXCLUSIVELY for PACA Concrete Producer Members.

A copy of this language is available HERE, along with the revised PACA Checklist of Requirements for Proper Acceptance Testing of Concrete.

Specifications / Sustainability

Update from PACA's Director of Specifications & Sustainability

- Article submitted by Susan Armstrong, Director of Specifications & Sustainability

I would like to start by encouraging you to join us Wednesday, September 6, 2023 at 2:00 for the Aggregate, Cement and Concrete Market Development Townhall Meeting. To date we have 18 registered members, so please don’t forget to register. We are only as strong as our members!!!

Since June 19, 2023, I have been able to visit with 25 producer members, and am planning to visit the remainder of the members over the next two months. I am seeing beautiful landscapes of Pennsylvania for the first time and enjoying good conversations thus far. Three of the members I have met so far have provided me with specifications that need some improvements, and I would like to thank Big Valley Concrete, Stone & Company, and Baycrete. I encourage all to provide me with any specifications that need “tweaking”.

We continue to partner with NRMCA on the Design Assistant Program but have not received any request from members. Please check out the program by clicking on the link provided. It is a wonderful opportunity to increase our market share for our materials.


On August 29, 2023 I had the opportunity to join Ken Crank at Michael Baker International’s Coraopolis office for 2 hours of continuing education. The first presentation focused on Insulated Concrete Forms. Stone & Co. salesman Charlie Hixon enlisted NuDura’s Andy Horgan and Greg Benedict to make the presentation due to their history presenting to other Baker offices.

A second presentation, featuring Tilt-up/ Precast Panel construction, was provided by Trevor Zero and Eric Smith of Conewago Enterprises. There were 12 structural engineers participating in the event (8 in person, 4 via TEAMS). The presentations yielded valuable conversations and ended with an invitation to come back and discuss Type IL cement and other sustainability topics.


Picture 1 - Trevor Zero with Conewago Manufacturing

Picture 2 - Andy Horgan with Nudura ICF’s

PACA Events Calendar

Young Leaders Development Group Conference

PACA's Young Leaders Development Group (YLDG) will be hosting its next conference at the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Philadelphia West in Plymouth Meeting, PA, on October 11 & 12, 2023.

A full agenda including session descriptions and speakers' bios is now available on our website HERE.

September PACA Members Forum - Sponsored by Kemper, Featuring Babst Calland

PACA's September Members Forum online meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 12th at 11 AM.

The September members forum sponsor is Kemper Equipment.

The September featured speakers are Kevin Garber and Elizabeth Dupuis of Babst Calland.

Kevin J. Garber


Practice Areas:

  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Environmental
  • Litigation
  • Public Sector

Elizabeth A. Dupuis

Managing Shareholder, State College Office

Practice Areas:

  • Corporate & Commercial
  • Public Sector
  • Real Estate, Land Use & Zoning

Topic: PA Municipal Ordinance Developments and Environmental Update

Betsy Dupuis, currently serves as Centre County Solicitor, will address municipal ordinance developments of interest to our members. Kevin Garber, PACA legal counsel, will address recent environmental developments and their impact on our members.

To register, GO HERE.

Aggregate, Cement and Concrete - Market Development Town Hall Meeting
Sep 6, 2023
Via Zoom
PACA Underground Stone Conference
Oct 5, 2023
Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc.
Young Leaders Development Group Conference 2023
Oct 11, 2023
Doubletree Suites by Hilton Philadelphia West
Fall Environmental Community Meeting
Oct 19, 2023
Hershey Country Club
Members in the News

H&K Holds Job Fair to Fill Key Positions, Meet Challenges of Expanded Workload

- Original article published in the August 16th edition of Rock Products.

In direct response to expanding project workload in its Northeast Pennsylvania operating region, H&K Group Inc. (H&K) reported that it held an extremely successful, multi-divisional Job Fair on Saturday, Aug. 5.

Hosted at 280 Main Street in Hallstead, Pa., hiring managers conducted interviews to fill numerous full-time positions in the trades, skilled/technical and professional employment levels. In attendance to conduct same-day interviews were managers from many of H&K’s heavy civil contracting affiliates.

Company ownership was also on hand to meet prospective candidates, guide and direct individuals to H&K’s various testing and interview locations and observe and gauge the overall success of the hiring event.

H&K announced that 90 applicants attended the Job Fair. Hiring managers filled 26 key positions, with vital roles being filled in the following areas: bridge carpenter, bridge laborer, driver, excavator/demolition operator, heavy equipment operator, laborer, laborer trainee and project manager.


Industry Events

Announcing the Next PA Driling and Blasting Conference

The next PA Drilling and Blasting Conference has been scheduled for November 16 & 17 in State College, PA.


Registration is now open for participants and sponsors/exhibitors. For more information, please GO HERE.

Registration is Now Open for the 2024 Mid-Atlantic Quality Assurance Workshop

The District Department of Transportation,Washington DC, will serve as the next host of the 56th Mid Atlantic Quality Assurance Workshop scheduled for February 6-8, 2024, at the MGM National Harbor.

It has been announced that registration is currently open.

For more information or to register to attend, please GO HERE.

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