After a public uproar over Elcon Recycling Services' plans to build a hazardous-waste treatment plant near the Delaware River in Falls Township, Bucks County, the proposal has yet to move forward.
Elcon is two months behind a self-imposed schedule to submit the next part of its application to the state. On Monday, three months after a raucous meeting that drew a crowd of 300, the company would not say when the application would be ready.
Representatives said it was still a work in progress. "We will inform the community and the media when our application is submitted," Elcon CEO Zvi Elgat wrote in a letter to the Inquirer.
Residents on both sides of the river have continued to oppose Elcon's plans.
"We don't think for a minute that they're second-guessing themselves, although that's what we wish they would do," said Fred Stine, citizen action coordinator at the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
Community activists have distributed fliers, put up yard signs, and set up tables at local events. They hold informational meetings about once a month, organizers said. A coalition of advocacy groups and elected officials is holding a meeting Wednesday night at the Bordentown Township community center.
"More and more people are coming on board," said Lisa Tordo, a community activist.
Nothing like the proposed Elcon plant has been approved in Pennsylvania. Only two facilities have hazardous-waste permits, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection, and both were approved before 1988, when the state passed the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act to establish a state review process for facility applications.
The Elcon plant would treat about 150,000 tons of hazardous wastewater annually, trucked in from local companies and neighboring states.
The site is a half-mile from a creek that feeds directly into the Delaware. Elcon has pledged not to discharge into the river, but opponents say they are worried about accidents and spills.
In a timeline given at a February meeting, Elcon - which is based in Israel and runs wastewater-treatment operations there - said it projected it would submit the second part of its application to the DEP in March. It anticipated that the DEP would finish an initial review of the application by June. It was also slated to submit a separate air-quality application in the spring.
Once the application is submitted, the DEP review would take months.
In early March, Elcon representative Kelly Henry insisted the project was not on hold, saying in an email: "There has been no delay. We are proceeding as planned."
Elcon has encountered solid resistance before. From 2011 to 2015, its proposals were successively rejected in three municipalities in the Lombardy region of Italy, where residents mounted vocal opposition, according to news articles.
In Castellanza, local officials complained about Elcon's "generic responses" and its "absence of response to detailed requests for clarification . . . in relation to all the affected environmental and territorial components," according to a June 2013 article from VareseNews.
Records indicate Elcon has had its eye on this area for several years.
Five years ago, company representatives made a presentation to officials in Lakewood Township, Ocean County, as a "precursor" to beginning permit applications with the DEP and the federal Environmental Protection Agency, according to the meeting minutes.
"Lakewood is attractive to Elcon both culturally and location wise," the minutes read.
Its website says it is "in the process" of "establishing Elcon USA and Elcon Europe," although it provides information only about the Falls site.