Self-storage owner Harold Steve is under investigation by officials in Robeson Township, Pa., and Berks County for dumping several truckloads of sediment from an excavated property onto a forested tract next to his Gibraltar Self Storage facility. A group of neighboring residents complained about the dumping activity last month.
Steve told the source he dumped 20 to 30 loads of dirt during a two-week period but believed it wouldn’t be an issue because he owns the land. “As far as I know, I have not done anything wrong,” he said.
A Berks County Conservation District investigation concluded Steve was in violation of not having an “onsite best-management practice plan or an erosion and sediment-control plan” for the mounds of dirt, the source reported. Eric Konzelmann, a resource conservationist for the district, said Steve’s sediment mounds exceed the state limit of 5,000 square feet of earth disturbance or displaced soil that has not sprouted vegetation without a plan in place.
The plans are required in such instances to help prevent runoff from contaminating nearby waterways. The land Steve used is in the vicinity of a tributary of Schuylkill River, Konzelmann said.
Steve will have seven days from when he receives the county district’s report to cover the sediment piles and 30 days to produce a plan to prevent runoff, according to the source. Steve said he was unaware his land had been inspected. The self-storage property, 3700 Main St., is off of Route 724 in Birdsboro, Pa.
The township has not concluded its investigation, but manager Thomas Keim said he believes a vehicle-access lane bulldozed by Steve to give dump trucks access to his land was not authorized by any permits.
“I still don’t believe I’m doing anything wrong, but if I am, I’ll fix it,” Steve said.
Konzelmann also told the source he suspects the land on which the sediment was dumped may be federally protected wetlands. Such a determination would be made by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, but a complaint would have to be submitted to trigger an investigation.
If it is determined the land is protected, Steve would likely have to get a permit for the sediment or remove it, Konzelmann said.