State inspects Burchfield site

DUNCANSVILLE – The state Department of Environmental Protection recently secured a search warrant from the Blair County Court of Common Pleas to inspect a site in Allegheny Township after one of the owners raised an objection.

David Burchfield Sr. said Wednesday that the property along Old Sixth Avenue Road, south of Altoona, is posted with no trespassing signs, which were ignored in late July when a department sent a college intern to conduct an inspection. The site is the location of Blair County Recovery and Towing Inc., a vehicle salvage yard, which includes vehicle-related wastes.

Because that site operates under the provisions of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Discharge of Stormwater Associates with Industrial Activities, all DEP personnel have the right to access the site and the right to return at any time, state DEP spokeswoman Lisa Kasianowitz said.

That permit, which also covers the care and handling of vehicle-related waste, was secured in June 2011 by Burchfield’s son, David Burchfield Jr.

“I don’t think there’s any problems on the site with leaks or anything like that,” Burchfield Jr. said Wednesday. “We do have some tanks and containers on site that weren’t labeled. And you could figure out those contents by smelling them. But everything is supposed to be labeled.”

DEP has issued no finding so far as a result of the Aug. 6 inspection conducted by search warrant.

Agent Shawn Arbaugh, in a report about the search warrant filed at the Blair County Courthouse, reported the collection of 78 digital photographs, several vials or jars of soil and fluids, a spill prevention and control plan and a stormwater pollution prevention plan.

An inspection report is expected in two to three weeks, depending on the laboratory time needed to examine the soil and fluids, Kasianowitz said.

The search warrant also indicated that the college intern felt threatened while trying to conduct the inspection. As detailed in the search warrant request, the unidentified intern reported to Arbaugh that when David Burchfield Sr. asked her for identification, she held up the ID card attached to a lanyard around her neck. Burchfield Sr. allegedly grabbed the ID and pulled it to counter level so he could write down the information, leaving the intern bent forward.

“She was a little sarcastic when she was here,” Burchfield Sr. said. “I told her to give me her tag, and she said here it is, but I couldn’t read it the way she was holding it.”

The intern also reported that both Burchfields gave her permission to go to the stormwater outfall on the site, which is maintained as part of the stormwater management system. But while she was at the outfall, Burchfield Sr. objected to her taking photographs.

The intern also reported that Burchfield Jr. initially told her that he did not know where the site’s application permit was located and that he was not going to look for it. Burchfield Jr. later indicated that he would search for any site-related records and if found, he would email them. The search warrant request indicated that no records were supplied.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.