GROVE CITY, Pa.—The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has denied a permit to reopen a landfill in western Pennsylvania, saying waste would be piled four times higher than allowed by zoning laws and citing the compliance history of affiliated companies.

Officials with Tri-County Landfill Inc. did not immediately return a call for comment on Thursday's denial. The company is a subsidiary of Vogel Holdings, of Mars, which the DEP says owns other companies with regulatory compliance problems.

The DEP says Tri-County closed a landfill on the same site in Pine and Liberty townships in Mercer County until 1990, though the company still operates a waste transfer station there.

The DEP says Tri-County wanted the landfill to be 160 feet high. A Mercer County judge had previously ruled that a 40-foot zoning limit for structures applies to landfills, too.