Extracts from correspondence with Sandy Smith
February 2001

(1) Brief summary of Mascaro - NYC Sewage Sludge contract and operations
(3) Article in Phila Inquirer of Oct.9, 1997: "Legislators go to bat for trash hauler"

And have you ever picked any good info about Mascaro's permit from the price-winning PDEP website? If so, what? My point being that it behooves PDEP to do something more to inform the public, something like providing a brief executive summary about the permitholder, the conditions, quantities and rates, and complaints with links to the complaints which should also be put onto the web.

Regards BEN

;Subject: Re: Barley Protest, Manor Landfill, AND Mascaro Permit renewal NYC Sludge

>Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 23:34:29 -0500
>Do you know all about J.P. Mascaro & Sons and Barley's connection? I am
>not sure I understand the premit renewal process but I am sure ready to
>speak up!!
>I am inclosing info that might help you and please give me your imput.
>J.P.Mascaro has a 15 yr. $95.7 million contract with NYC to take 7 daily
>truck load of sludge. This sludge is mixed with wood chips ( pressure
>treated, lead paint,etc.), water & air added and in 60 days is allowed
>to sell it.The businesses are not required to label the stuff! This
>"compost" is used for flower gardens,trees,shrub
>plants,topsoils,landscaping, potting soil,farmland
>replenishment, wholesale & retail distribution. PA DEP's August 1998 list
>of businesses J.P. Mascaro (composting out of Manheim,PA) sells his
>"compost" to:
>Mascaro's largest customer for his NYC Sludge product is Gardenscape
>Products also known as Butterfield Farm
>which are sold in major stores such as Lowes,K-Mart,Central
>Tractor,Quality,Fleet, Wal-Mart's own brand Garden Basics is made by
>Ask nursery's & florists what is in their potting soils!
>American Supplies
>1600 Freemansburg Rd.
>Bethlehem,PA 18017
>Akron Nursery
>RT 272,Box 201
>Akron,PA 17501
>Wizar's Country Nursery
>71 Spangler Rd.
>Lebanon,PA 17402
>Zeager Brother's, Inc.
>4000 E. Harrisburg Pike
>Middletown,PA 17057
>Michael Makowski,Inc
>643 Lonchester Hwy.PO Box 145
>Concordville,PA 19331
>Springhouse Nursery
>Bethlehem Pike
>Spring House,PA 19477
>Rave Nursery
>Rt # 309
>Ashley,PA 18706
>Hopewell Nursery
>Boyertown,PA 19512
>Allentown (Mascaro)
>315 Basin Street
>Allentown,PA 18103
>GVR (Mascaro)
>6 & Merion St.
>Bridgeport,PA 19405
>LVR (Mascaro)
>3942 Portland St.
>Coplay,PA 18037
>[Key Landscaping
>807 Taylor Rd.
>Rich Barth
>3026 Mt. Gretna Rd.
>Elizabethtown,PA 17022
>Behmerwald Nursery
NOTE: the following message pertains:
From : WDonn@aol.com
Sent : Sunday, March 21, 2004 5:51 PM
Subject : Mascaro Sludge
I am writing to request a correction of a list that you have posted on your site. The url is:
I am the owner of Behmerwald Nursery and my business is listed as a retailer of this product.
This is incorrect. I had a load of the product delivered to my nursery, dumped and then I had
it removed by Mascaro.
As you know this is not a good product, and I had Mascaro remove all of it
from my nursery immediately. The product had been sold to me as a processed compost,
NOT as a Sewage Compost. I do not subscribe to the "solution to pollution is dilution"
in selling sewage sludge for my customers to spread at their homes.
I strive to be an extremely environmentally friendly business
and find this listing as slanderous to my reputation.
I respectfully request that my business name be removed from the above page immediately.
I appreciate your attention to this matter.
Bill Donnelly
Behmerwald Nursery
UNQUOTE /font>
>4904 Garges Rd.
>Schwenksville,PA 19473
>Christman Nursery
>311 Main St.
>Bally,PA 19503
>Holland Gardens
>2316 Bristol Rd.
>Holland,PA 18966
>Gerald Rittenbaugh
>141 Shed Rd.
>Douglasvulle,PA 18518
>Northern Nursery
>RT#115 Sullivan Trail
>Wind Gap,PA 18091
>Edwards Landscape
>525 River Rd.
>Forty Fort,PA 18704
>Ernest Wholaver
>1285 N. Vine St.
>Middletown,PA 17057
>March Lumber
>200 Limerick Center Rd.
>Limerick,PA 19468
>Key Landscaping
>807 Taylor Rd.
>Brooklanw Market
>Kreider Ave.&RT501
>Lancaster,PA 17601
>M.H. Martin Co
>265 Halnstown Rd.
>Ephrata,PA 17552
>Hershey Nursery
>25 Northeast Drive
>Hershey,PA 17033
>Harold Silfies
>747 So.Cottonwood Rd
>Walnut Port,PA 18088
>Wyoming Valley (Mascaro)
>871 E. Main St.
>Nanticoke,PA 18634
>Gregor's Topsiol
>405 N.Waled Rd.
>Lansdale,PA 19446
>Pioneer Crossing (Mascaro)
>727 Red Lane Rd.
>Birdsboro,PA 19508
>Thomas Trucking
>743 Beaver Valley Pike
>Lancaster,PA 17602
>Garmans Coal&Mulch
>196 N. ErismanR.
>Manheim,PA 17545
>Monties Mulch
>1379 E.Main St
>Douglassville,PA 19508
>Mike Stine Haulings
>10143 Gravel Hill Rd.
>Bangor,PA 18013
>Souderton (Mascaro)
>Souderton,PA 18964
>Wizard's Country Nursey
>71 Spangler Road
>Lebanon,PA 1704
>=Philadelphia Inquirer
>Legislators go to bat for trash hauler
>Efforts to intervene with the DEP failed to help the political
>By Ken Dilanian
>HARRISBURG -- When state regulators were contemplating tough enforcement
>against affiliates of J.P. Mascaro & Sons Inc. for alleged environmental
>violations, the company turned to its friends in the legislature.
>The stakes were high for the Harleysville, Montgomery County, waste
>company, because the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
>threatening action that would jeopardize Mascaro's chances for a $95.6
>million contract to process New York City sludge into compost.
>In short order, six legislators -- all but one of them recipients of
>Mascaro-connected contributions -- had contacted DEP officials with
>questions. One demanded and received a meeting with regulators, at which
>Mascaro officials complained bitterly that their firm had been singled
>for severe treatment. Four legislators sat in on the meeting at the
>company's request. The legislators say the Mascaro donations had nothing
>do with their actions. Company officials say they were simply asking for
>help from their elected representatives. In the end, that help was
>unavailing. Weeks after hearing from the legislators, DEP ordered
>to ratchet back its operations at a sludge-processing facility in
>County -- a move that could jeopardize the deal with New York. The
>also fined Mascaro nearly $400,000 for its Berks County operation,
>including the largest penalty against a permitted landfill in state
>The episode offers a behind-the-scenes example of how state-regulated
>businesses try to pressure government regulators contemplating actions
>may be unfavorable to them.
>"I hear stories like this a half-dozen times a year, where a company
>in trouble with an enforcement agency and brings in heavyweight
>to try to change the result," said Barry Kauffman, executive director of
>Common Cause Pennsylvania. "It demonstrates the return on investment
>some campaign contributors expect."
>It is routine for legislators to intervene for corporate constituents
>receive unfavorable rulings from state agencies. To some, that is
>troubling; to others, it is the essence of representative government.
>"I think what we're seeing here is democracy at work," said House
>Appropriations Chairman John Barley (R., Lancaster). Barley helped
>a Sept. 24 meeting at DEP's Harrisburg regional office with three other
>House Republicans, top agency regulators, and Mascaro's lawyers.
>Neither of the two waste facilities at issue -- a Berks County landfill
>a Lancaster County sludge plant -- is in Barley's district. But that's
>relevant, said Barley, who received a $1,000 contribution from Mascaro
>earlier this year.
>"Whenever a business person has a concern about any entity of state
>government . . . my door is always open," he said.
>Joining Barley at the September meeting were Montgomery County Reps.
>Raymond Bunt, John Lawless and John Fichter.
>The four House members received a total of $4,550 in political
>contributions since 1995 from Pasquale Mascaro or his partnership, MB
>Investments. Pasquale Mascaro is the CEO of J.P. Mascaro and the sole
>shareholder of the two companies facing the DEP enforcement actions.
>Bunt received $2,600 in 1995 and 1996; Lawless received $700 during
>same years; and Fichter received $250 last year. Mascaro also hosted a
>fund-raising event, a company lawyer said.
>Pasquale Mascaro said he had contributed to various Republican
>and candidates for years. He donated $5,000 to Gov. Ridge's campaign
>in 1994.
>All four legislators said the contributions had nothing to do with their
>decisions to attend the meeting. They simply wanted to ensure that
>was being treated fairly, each said.
>Bunt, whose district includes various Mascaro facilities, said Mascaro's
>lawyer asked him to intervene. Bunt said he then asked for Barley's
>Bunt said he wanted "to make sure DEP didn't treat this company
>differently. I was not there to run roughshod over somebody."
>On July 25, when regional DEP officials balked at meeting with him on
>Mascaro matter, Bunt sent a letter to DEP Secretary James Seif. An
>unwillingness by DEP regulators to meet with state legislators, Bunt
>"cannot, and simply will not, be tolerated."
>That letter led to the meeting, DEP officials said. Lawless said Mascaro
>had made a good case to him before the meeting that the company was
>singled out by DEP.
>By contrast, Fichter said he came away convinced that Mascaro had been
>treated equitably. Barley said he also supported DEP's actions.
>Two senators also called DEP regulators at Mascaro's request. Stewart
>Greenleaf (R., Montgomery) said he called the DEP after the firm gave
>letters from people who live around Mascaro's sludge-composting plant in
>northern Lancaster County. These letters said, contrary to regulators'
>findings, that there was no odor problem.
>"I asked them to look into it," said Greenleaf, who said the Mascaro
>hosted a fund-raising event for him this year and had done so in the
>The other senator, Majority Whip David Brightbill (R., Lebanon), said he
>concluded after talking to a DEP official that Mascaro "should bite the
>bullet and pay the fines." Brightbill took no further action. He has
>received no contributions from Mascaro in recent years.
>Pasquale Mascaro said he did nothing improper in seeking help from
>"We've never asked anyone to intervene on our behalf in the spirit of
>preferential treatment," he said. "And I would challenge anyone to
>a shred of evidence that Mascaro has ever been involved in a quid pro
>As for the meeting arranged by legislators, Mascaro's general counsel,
>William Fox, said: "It's what they're supposed to do. They're there to
>serve us."
>On a previous occasion, Mascaro turned for help to elected officials who
>had received Mascaro-connected campaign contributions.
>A Mascaro partnership contributed $25,000 in 1991 to the campaign
>of Mario Mele and Jon Fox, who were elected Montgomery County
>commissioners. In 1993, at Mascaro's request, the commissioners exempted
>the company from a county rule requiring all waste haulers to dump at
>same landfill.
>That prompted a competitor, Waste Management Inc., to sue the
>commissioners, alleging that they had been influenced improperly by
>Mascaro. The commissioners said their action was unrelated to the
>contribution. Waste Management later dropped its lawsuit in exchange for
>the county's waiving its right to audit the firm's books or bring its
>legal action.
>Mascaro fared less well in its dispute with the DEP.
>A week after the Sept. 24 meeting with legislators, the DEP levied
>in penalties on one Mascaro company for allegedly failing to comply with
>various regulations at its Pioneer Crossing landfill in Berks County.
>Decaying trash created "a combustible gas problem that threatened a
>trailer park," DEP spokeswoman Sandy Roderick said.
>Citing odor problems, the agency also required Mascaro to cut its sludge
>volume in half at a Lancaster County composting plant and pay a $20,000
>Mascaro is appealing both orders to the state's Environmental Hearing
>Board, calling them unfair.
>At an administrative hearing Thursday, Mascaro asked that the sludge
>be suspended until there is a ruling on the company's appeal. Mascaro's
>lawyer argued that the order would prevent the company from fulfilling
>terms of a contract being negotiated with New York City to process its
>Another legislator attended the September meeting, but she came at the
>request of the DEP, not Mascaro. Republican Rep. Katie True, whose
>northwestern Lancaster County district includes the sludge plant, has
>alerting state regulators to complaints about odor problems there for
>True said she found the meeting "annoying."
>"I had to sit for hours and listen to a bunch of whining," she said. "I
>felt bad for DEP, to tell you the truth. They were under fire from
>True said she was pleased with the tough DEP order.
>"I would have had a real problem if they had gotten off the hook," True
>said. "But they didn't."
>July 15, 1999
>Odor fines of $580,000 for company
>By Rich Henson
> A large composting plant and a landfill, both owned by J.P. Mascaro &
>Inc. of Harleysville, have been hit with $580,000 in state fines for
>Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Sandra Roderick said
>yesterday that the A&M Composting Inc. facility in Penn Township,
>County, was fined $130,000 for 13 violations, while the Pioneer Crossing
>landfill near Birdsboro, in Berks County, received a $450,000 fine for
> "At both of the facilities, we have had a lot of odor complaints from
>residents," Roderick said. "We've tried to work with the company to
>those problems, and that is not helping for whatever reason."
> William F. Fox, Mascaro's corporate counsel, called the fines
>unjustified" and said the company would appeal.
> "The amounts are extremely excessive," Fox said. "They are usually in
>area of $1,000 to $1,500 for a violation."
> Roderick said the 13 violations at A&M Composting were recorded since
>January. The large, enclosed facility is near the Route 72 interchange
>of the
>Pennsylvania Turnpike.
> Fox said the company spent more than $4 million to upgrade A&M and
>acknowledged that "slight and fleeting odors" escaped from the plant in
>February, when biological filters were being replenished.
> The complaints, Fox said, came from residents upset with A&M's plans to
>up to 162 tons a day of sludge from New York City.
> The violations at Pioneer Crossing were documented between July 1997
>March. Roderick said most of the odors appeared to come from escaping
>gas. "The other issue is keeping the daily garbage covered at the end of
>day," she said.
> Fox said the state at one time denied the company a permit to cap a
>section of the landfill. Once the permit was issued and work began last
>he said, a "freak storm" with heavy winds blew a large section of the
> "Most of the complaints crept up at that time," he said.
> Roderick said that although the state had not instructed Mascaro on how
>correct the problems, the company had "an obligation to correct them."

>Ben Oostdam wrote:
> > I would like to refer you and your associates to this Website:
> >
> > PA_Sludge.tripod.com
> >
> > in which I have tried to summarize these two important Lancaster
> > County issues:
> >
> > (1) The Manor Landfill (and Rep. Barley's involvement)
> >
> > (2)the A & M Compost (Mascaro) New York City sewage sludge
> > "conversion" - permit renewal process, which requires input within the
> > next 50 or so days
> >
> > I have written Mr Seif at PDEP and complained about the lack of a
> > simple one Webpage executive summary dealing with this quantitatively
> > very important public matter; their Website is full of other and less
> > important info "shielding" the public from real world effects.
> >
> > Perhaps you could write him along these lines and let me know if you
> > have heard anything about the status of Mascaro's Mannheim (and WV)
> > operations?
> >
> > Best regards