A controversial toxic waste disposal facility planned for Falls Township, Pennsylvania (U.S. 1, April 24) failed to clear an important governmental hurdle. The proposed plant, owned by Israeli company Elcon, would release pollution that would potentially affect New Jersey.

The body that has the most important role in deciding if the plant will be built — the Falls Township Board of Supervisors — met regarding Elcon for the first time during a special meeting April 30. The board voted unanimously to reject the proposal, prompting a standing ovation from the residents who packed the meeting.

The vote comes on the heels of a March 26 unanimous decision from the Falls Township planning commission to not recommend plans for the Elcon facility. The planning commission does not have legal authority, but the Falls supervisor board does factor its recommendations into decisions.

The proposal isn’t dead, though. Later this month the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will decide on a series of Phase II permit applications submitted by Elcon. If deemed technically complete, the process advances to a 45-day public comment period. But even a PADEP decision against Elcon would not necessarily mark the end of a process that has drawn out for five years.

If Elcon receives the approvals it seeks, it would build a 70,000-square-foot storage and treatment facility on a 33-acre plot of land on Dean Sievers Place. The plant would accept toxic waste from approximately 20 tanker trucks daily, carrying aqueous material from automotive shops, mining operations, and pharmaceutical and industrial manufacturing plants.

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