The York County Sanitary Landfill is located in Hopewell Township at 3969 Plank Road in Stewartstown, PA. The York County Sanitary Landfill, owned by the York County Solid Waste Authority, was permitted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (now the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection-PADEP) to accept municipal solid waste in November of 1974, ceased operations in December 1997 and was capped and closed in 1998. The entire landfill site consists of 306 acres. The Authority retains environmental responsibility for the site and continues to maintain and monitor it.
Approximately 135 acres consisting of the unlined portions of the landfill were closed in 1987 as a result of the discovery of groundwater contamination by low-level volatile organic compounds. This portion of the landfill was placed on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) National Priorities List for clean up. The Authority implemented a groundwater recovery and treatment system and will continue these remediation activities until such time as they would be determined by the USEPA/PADEP to be no longer needed. The remediation efforts have been successful in containing and treating the contaminated groundwater.
In 1994, the USEPA issued a “Record of Decision” (ROD) with respect to the remedial action implemented by the Authority at the landfill. The ROD confirmed the remedial action taken by the Authority was appropriate and effective in protecting the health of the community and the environment and directed the Authority to continue the current system of remedial action. In February, 2005 the USEPA removed the York County Sanitary Landfill from the National Priorities List, stating that the contamination at the landfill had been successfully addressed. The Authority continues to use the remediation system and is still required to monitor it and report to the USEPA.
The other formerly active portions of the landfill comprising approximately 40 acres were used for disposal of municipal solid waste until 1990. With the start-up of the York County Resource Recovery Center in 1989, the landfill accepted only resource recovery center process residue, ash, until December 31, 1997. The remaining site acreage was never permitted for disposal use by the PADEP.
Passive methane gas venting is provided in both the unlined and lined cells. Ground cover, swales and sedimentation basins provide control of storm water runoff. In the lined cells, leachate (moisture that has percolated through the waste or ash) is collected in a lined pond, pretreated by mechanical aeration and then treated at a licensed public wastewater treatment facility before being discharged.
The Authority and Hopewell Township have an agreement in place that has enabled beneficial reuse of the landfill. In 2007 approximately 200 acres of the site was converted into the Hopewell Area Recreation Complex (HARC). HARC features multi-use sports fields, walking trails, a wildlife habitat area, tot and youth playgrounds, a picnic pavilion, information kiosks and two bird/wildlife viewing platforms. More than 122 species of birds have been documented at the site. The Authority provided the funds to build the facility and Hopewell Township is the facility operator. The complex is open to the public from dawn to dusk. To reserve facilities and fields, please call Hopewell Township at 717-993-2027.