Pittsburgh Glass Works’ (PGW) owner has no immediate plans to extinguish the underground fire at the shuttered glass plant.
The underground blaze in East Deer, PA, has been burning since at least September of 2017 when PGW started investigating and found the fire was fueled by coal refuse used as backfill for the factory site decades ago.
After reviewing the situation, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) found “no imminent threat to human health, safety or the environment,” said DEP spokesperson Lauren Fraley.
However, DEP is requiring the company to continue to monitor the fire, but nothing more, she said.
“DEP anticipates that the fire will extinguish on its own because of the limited amount of potential fuel,” Fraley said.
Since last year, PGW has been monitoring and addressing localized hot spots on the plant’s interior concrete floor and conducted limited excavation on the Allegheny River side the plant to assess the soil composition.
This month, PGW sent out aerial drones to take thermal imaging scans of its property to assess the extent of the fire. The company sends its reports to DEP, the Allegheny Health Department, local utilities and others, according to its website.
Residents continue to complain about the smell and steam coming out of the ground behind the plant, said township Supervisors Chairman Tony Taliani.
Taliani said the solution is to extinguish the fire and remediate the site for future use.
The fate of the site is important as PGW is the largest single property taxpayer in township, paying in of excess of $20,000 annually.