By: KDKA-TV’s Jennifer Borrasso
RESERVE TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) — Residents in Reserve Township say a junkyard is leading to poor air quality, noise pollution and safety issues.
On Tuesday, residents took a petition against Rusty Hook Auto Salvage to the township building to try and get help. The owner of Rusty Hook Auto Salvage, Stephen Chechak, was there with a group of employees. He says he’s following ordinances and doing the best he can.
But residents say they cannot live like this anymore. Linda Lombardozzi lives across the street from the junkyard.
“There is a list of ordinances that aren’t be followed,” Lombardozzi said.
The salvage yard has been in business for decades and sits in the middle of Reserve Township on Mt. Troy Road.
“Everybody moved in beside a junkyard and they lived beside a junkyard and they don’t want it to be a junkyard,” said Chechak.
Residents say they are fed up with the noise, traffic and what they are calling an eyesore.
“There is noise pollution constantly,” said Rosanne Berube. “There are diesel fumes constantly. There are cars parked all over the road. Now you have this unsightly fence. They are stacking cars as high as the sky.”
Donna Zivic says it is no longer a junkyard but an auto recycling business.
“The noise is unbearable. It starts at 7 in the morning whenever they gas up their engines. We smell gasoline fumes,” said Zivic. “The diesel is all day long. You cannot eat breakfast on your patio.”
Zivic started a petition to give to the township. KDKA’s Jennifer Borrasso tried to get answers but nobody from the township would talk.
Chechak says he fixes problems if he is not following code.
“Every time they get a call, they call me,” said Chechak. “And we hash out what we have to fix. I just got a bunch of people that are not happy with what we are doing.”
Lauren Fraley, a spokesperson with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, told KDKA’s Jennifer Borrasso that the department cited the junkyard a month ago.
“While Rusty Hook Auto Salvage is not a DEP-permitted facility, the department investigated an environmental complaint and noted violations related to the handling of wastes, including automotive fluids, batteries and tires. DEP considers these violations of state laws and regulations an open compliance matter,” Fraley said.
The spokesperson added that most of the concerns in the complaint are regulated at the county or local level. The DEP has alerted those issues to the Allegheny County Health Department.