ATLAS - Mount Carmel Township supervisors approved an agreement with PPL Corp. Wednesday that will net tens of thousands of dollars annually from a mine reclamation project in Locust Summit.

The township will receive $10,000 a year plus $5.50 for each load of fly ash dumped in the area of the former Locust Summit breaker on the Merriam Mountain, near Routes 54 and 901, according to supervisor Chairman Charles Gasperetti.

Gasperetti and fellow supervisors Reynold Scicchitano and Joseph Zanella unanimously approved an agreement with PPL during Wednesday's monthly board meeting. It's unclear when the project will begin.

The ash will come from a PPL Corp. property, and the land is mined by Gilberton Coal Co.

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) granted a permit to Gilberton Coal in August 2008 to use approximately 350,000 cubic yards of fly ash to fill a 6.2 acre pit over 10 years. The pit is just east of Route 901 near the Schuylkill County border.

An appeal to the DEP permit was filed in December 2009 by Robert Gadinski, a Lavelle resident and licensed geologist, along with Lavelle residents Joan and Frank Burke. They feared the potential environmental impact on their residential water wells. It was denied by a state Environmental Hearing Board in May 2013.

The board's ruling says the project would improve water quality by preventing the flow of surface water into an underground mine pool, and would also improve drainage and restore surface contours. Public safety would be enhanced by filling the pit, preventing someone from falling in.

The closest residential well is about 1,740 feet from the edge of the project area, according to court records. The Burke's well is further than that, records state, and Gadinski's well was estimated to be 3,000 feet from the site.

In siding with Gilberton Coal, the board said "the appellants have not persuaded us that the placement of the (fly ash) at the Locust Summit site poses an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment, or is in any way contrary to the law."

Coal Township commissioners had a similar agreement with PPL Corp. for fly ash to be dumped at a site near Burnside. Original project terms called for Coal Township to receive $10,000 annually and 25 cents a ton. The project was completed in 2013.