Pa. officials seize tractor-trailer for hauling wheat after asbestos load

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania officials seized a tractor-trailer Aug. 14 that hauled asbestos and then allegedly picked up wheat to be processed for human consumption.

The driver then attempted to deliver the wheat to a mill in Martins Creek, Northampton County, which processes it for food for people.

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to use the same tractor-trailer to haul waste and food products.

Routine check. Inspectors from the Pa. Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania State Police and Department of Environmental Protection discovered the backhauling Aug. 13 during routine inspections of trucks south of State College on Route 322.

The driver, Thomas Leiter of Mifflin County, had hauled asbestos from Portland, Conn., to L.A.S. Recycling in Youngstown, Ohio. He then allegedly picked up the wheat at McCullough Grain in Sharpsville, Ohio, which had arranged the trucking through a broker in Wheatland, Pa. Leiter was driving for Marbec Trucking in Franklin County.

When stopped, Leiter told inspectors he was en route to ConAgra in Martins Creek, and that the wheat was to be used for animal feed. Inspectors did not know at the time that the mill processes wheat only for human consumption.

Under investigation. Upon learning that, investigators worked with ConAgra and waited for Leiter to arrive at the mill Aug. 14. The mill’s operator rejected Leiter’s load after investigators notified the operator that the wheat was contaminated.

Leiter was issued a summary citation by the Pennsylvania State Police. He faces a fine of up to $10,000. The incident remains under investigation.

The wheat was taken to the Grand Central Landfill in Northampton County.

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