A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 June 14, 1990

Known as the Penacook incinerator, this Wheelabrator facility went on line in August 1989. The Wheelabrator incinerator “has exceeded sulfur dioxide emission standards numerous times since last August, according to the state’s Air Resources Division and the company that operates the plant. The state knew about the problem as early as last fall, but waited until this month to order Wheelabrator Concord Company to reduce its emissions...Jack Glenn, an engineer with the [state’s] Air Resources Division said the state waited to issue the enforcement order because the company said it was taking care of the problem. ‘We fully expected them to not have exceedences,’ Glenn said. ‘But they continued, and we decided in the end the steps they were taking weren’t working.’ Under its state permit, the plant must either emit no more than an average of 21 pounds of sulfur dioxide an hour over 24 hours or remove 50 percent of the sulfur dioxide through a liming process. Between August and the end of March, one incineration unit exceeded these standards for 384 hours, while the other was over for more than 53 hours...The state says the company knew about the problems last fall, and took several steps to modify the lime system before the first of the year. But tests in January, February and March showed both units still exceeded the standards for a total of 180 hours. [Wheelabrator spokesman Kevin Stickney] said the main problem is not the lime system but the amount of sulfur in the waste. He said materials like demolition debris, particularly gypsum board, contains high levels of sulfur that cause the high sulfur dioxide emissions...Stickney said removing high sulfur wastes before they are burned will be the best way to reduce emissions...The state has not discussed whether to penalize the company for the violations, said Dennis Lunderville, director of the Air Resources Division. Sulfur dioxide is one of the primary causes of acid raid, and for years New England states have fought for strict controls on sulfur dioxide emissions on power plants in the Midwest that use high sulfur coal...” Concord Monitor, NH, 5-25-90.

2,319 tpd mass-burn incinerator
Owned & Operated by AMERICAN REF-FUEL
Start up: April 9, 1989
$79 per ton for Town of Hempstead
Imported Waste: $10 - $22 less per tip fee ton

Though the nameplate capacity of this Am-Ref Fuel incinerator is 2,319 tpd, it burns 2,500 tpd, according to a Waste Not interview with William McGrane, the Sanitation Commissioner for the Town of Hempstead. The tip fee was $70 per ton up until June 1, 1990. Mr. McGrane noted that it costs the Town of Hempstead $130 per ton to dispose of ash, which includes transportation costs to western New York landfills. Mr. McGrane said it didn’t matter that out-of-town wastes were being charged less because the tip fees that the Town of Hempstead pays, when the tip fee was $70 per ton, was: $30 to Am Ref-Fuel and $40 to Hempstead for garbage costs, i.e., hauling, unprocessible wastes, recycling, etc. According to a Newsday (NY) report of 3-30-90, carters bringing in imported waste from outside the town Hempstead (population 700,000) paid $10 - $22 less per ton. Hempstead’s presiding Supervisor Joseph Mondello “noted that the town’s 20-year contract with the plant’s owner and operator, Am Ref-Fuel, allows the company to seek outside garbage at whatever fee it can get when Hempstead cannot generate enough to keep the plant operating efficiently...[Am Ref-Fuel spokesman Bob Ryan] said the company has set its prices based on what the market will bear...The amount of out-of-town waste reached a low of 13.4 percent of the total 77,490 tons burned in November -a peak month- to a high of 43 percent of the total 66,644 tons burned last month...”

According to the May 1989 report issued by the New York State Department of Health, “this study found a high incidence of reported respiratory and health symptoms among residents living near the Ferro Bros. dump site. Of the approximately 53% of residents living near the dump who responded to our questionnaire, over half reported symptoms such as headaches, eye irritation, and nose irritation. Complaints of difficulty sleeping and nausea were also reported by a high proportion of the responders. These symptoms were usually associated with strong odors from the dump. When the area near the dump site was split into two areas based on proximity to the site, residents living closer to the site were found to have a higher reported incidence of symptoms than residents living further away. Fifteen to eighteen symptoms were more frequent among residents living closer to the dump. For 4 of the 15 symptoms, those differences were statistically significant. More people living near the dump associated their symptoms with strong odors. More serious health problems were reported more frequently by the group living closer to the dump. Ten percent reported asthma and 18% bronchitis compared to 4% and ll% respectively from those living further away...These reported health findings are consistent with intermittent exposure to hydrogen sulfide and other irritants coming from the site causing or aggravating eye and respiratory symptoms and conditions...” The NY Department of Health conducted the health survey of residents of Catskill, NY, “in response to complaints of objectionable odors and reports of acute health problems. The people affected lived near the Ferro Bros. construction and demolition dump.” The following volatile organic compounds tested were found to be “above the limit of detection” near the vent pipe:

Volatile Organic Compounds Result (ug/m3)

Results of Air Sampling for Hydrogen Sulfide

1,1-dichloroethane 91

trichloroethene 34

tetrachloroethene 140 Location Level (ppm)

benzene 200

toluene l,200 On site, 25 ft. from vent 0.793

ethylbenzene 620 Off site, near entrance 0.031

p-xylene 57 Off site, 19 Bartow Ave. 0.018

m-xylene 7,400

o-xylene 910

cumene 680

styrene 770

1,3,5-trimethylbenzene l,500

1,2,4-trimethylbenzene 520

“Gypsum board, a common component of construction and demolition debris is known to undergo microbial decomposition releasing hydrogen sulfide. Other materials in the debris also decompose over time releasing other organic vapors and gases. Hydrogen sulfide has an offensive, rotten egg-like odor at levels as low as 0.003 to 0.13 ppm. At high levels of exposure, it is an asphyxiant causing death by interfering with the way the body utilizes oxygen. Effects at lower levels of exposure include eye irritation, blurred vision, and respiratory irritation. Studies of residents living near paper mills (which release hydrogen sulfide and other sulfated organic compounds) have found an increased incidence of respiratory symptoms and illnesses. The other volatile organic compounds found at the vent (primarily components of gasoline) may cause a variety of possible health effects. Many of these compounds will cause eye and respiratory irritation...” This ll-page report, titled Reported health conditions among residents living near the Ferro Bros. Construction & Demolition Dump Site, Catskill, New York, May 1989, is available from: N.Y. DOH, Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, 2 University Place, Room 130, Albany, NY 12203-3313. Attention: Carol Ju.

NEW PUBLICATION ON WASTE ISSUES: Timothy Coco, formerly Ogden Martin’s community relations manager for the Haverhill, MA, incinerator, is the editor of Waste Dynamics of New England According to Mr. Coco, the publication “links cities and towns in New England with waste industry consultants, engineers and equipment suppliers,” and is sent free to all New England city and town officials. Published monthly, at $36 per year, from 500 Commercial Street, Manchester, NH 03101.

WASTE NOT # 107 A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year, annual rates are: Individual & Non-Profits $35; Students & Seniors $25; Consultants & For-Profits $100; Canadian Subscriptions $US40. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.