By J.D. Prose – TimesOnline.com
FINDLAY TWP. — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said Wednesday that it has awarded a $1.4 million contract to have an underground fire on Pittsburgh International Airport property extinguished.
Earthmovers Unlimited of Kylertown, Clearfield County, will begin work next month and should complete the job in a year, the DEP said in a press release. The fire in a coal waste pile has been burning for several years and poses a risk to an airport radar facility and an underground gas pipeline.
The fire, which is close to runways, could also potentially produce smoke that could affect air traffic visibility, although there have been no incidents of that yet. The company will dig out the fire and use “several million gallons” of water and 200 gallons of firefighting foam, according to the DEP.
Also, the project will entail excavating 429,000 cubic yards of coal waste, which will be used to fill a steep drop-off, according to DEP. Afterward, the 10-acre site will be graded, vegetation will be planted, and a gravel road will be built on it.
The coal pile is the remnant of mining on the site between 1906 and 1939 when the mine was abandoned. In 2012, DEP had an isolation trench dug as a temporary barrier.