Fire threatening air traffic visibility at Pittsburgh airport to be extinguished

Updated:

FINDLAY TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Plans to extinguish an underground coal waste-pile fire near the Pittsburgh International Airport were announced Wednesday by the Department of Environmental Protection.

The $1.4 million, one-year project is expected to begin in September.

The site of the fire is near runways on airport property in Findlay Township.

Smoke from the fire, which has been burning for several years, has threatened visibility for air traffic and poses a risk to a nearby airport radar facility and to a major underground gas pipeline, the DEP said.

The coal waste pile was created by mining between 1906-1939.

A trench was dug two years ago as a temporary barrier to prevent the fire from spreading to another coal waste pile.

Earthmovers Unlimited, of Kylertown, will extinguish the fire by digging it out and using several million gallons of water and 200 gallons of firefighting foam.

The DEP said 429,000 cubic yards of coal waste will be excavated.

The project will be funded by the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Trust Fund.