A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 June 27, 1990


On June 26th the Monroe County Commissioners voted 2-l against building the proposed American Energy Corp. incinerator. Two weeks prior to the Commissioners vote the County’s General Authority voted 5-3 for the incinerator. The incinerator would have been built by American Energy Corp. with Laurent-Bouillet technology from France. The population of Monroe County is 70,000, yet the County’s General Authority never admitted to oversizing and the need for importation. The factors that helped defeat the incinerator: The ability to dump wastes at $45 a ton at the Grand Central Sanitation Landfill, in Penn Argyl, Pa., compared to the proposed $81 tipping fee ton at the proposed incinerator; public pressure sustained by active citizens; key municipalities said they wouldn’t send their waste to incinerator; and the awareness of the problems associated with the Warren County, NJ, incinerator, which is 20 miles from Monroe County. Monroe County citizens have battled several incinerator proposals. A Consumat incinerator proposal was defeated primarily because of their poor record of operations in Tuscaloosa, AL. A Vicon incinerator proposal was considered, but was dropped after Vicon went bankrupt. A Clark-Kenith incinerator proposal was dropped because of a lawsuit brought by four Monroe County residents who argued that the county had acted improperly in accepting the Clark-Kenith bid of $36 million when Katy-Seghers Inc. of St. Louis, Mo., bid $31.7 million. Clark-Kenith dropped out before the lawsuit went to court. [According to Pennsylvania statutes,“Every public contract shall be awarded by the contracting body to the lowest responsible bidder within 60 days of bid opening, or all bids shall be rejected except as otherwise provided in this section...30-day extensions of the date for the award may be made by mutual consent of the contracting body and the lowest responsible bidder.” The Pocono Record, 4-6-89]. The incinerator was proposed to be built in downtown East Stroudsburg within a half-mile of an elementary school, hospital, University, and dense residential area. The property was bought by the General Authority for $456,000 from Air Products of Allentown, PA. Air Products purchased the land 2 years prior for $200,000 to build a gas-bottling facility which would have added 20-25 jobs to Monroe County.


“... City Auditor Hugh J. Dorrian says the power plant is responsible for 95 percent of the budget-cutting the city is doing. The power plant is taking so much out of the purse - nearly $130 million in the past eight years - that there is little left for some projects city officials had promised. That $130 million would have paid for the $94 million convention center being built on N. High Street with lots to spare. Mayor Dana G. Rinehart’s staff has scurried in the past weeks to cut and postpone projects to make up this year’s power plant deficit, estimated to be a record $27.5 million. Some of the plant’s financial problems are rooted in poor management, according to a recent consultant’s study...But [Rinehart] continues to blame city belt-tightening on a slowing of tax-income. Dorrian sees it differently. ‘If we just focused on what I call a modest slowdown in income tax, we wouldn’t be having this discussion,’ Dorrian said. ‘There are going to be some people who will use that slowdown as a mask for the real demon.’ That demon is the power plant and its debt, which Dorrian projects will go even higher next year. Rinehart budget officials say the budget is fluid and could change, but so far, 31 projects have been affected...‘The power plant is an enormous drain on our capital improvements,’ Dorrian said. ‘How many years do we have to look at this thing before people can be convinced?’ Not many, it appears. Both Rinehart and City Council President pro tem Cindy Lazarus view it as a critical issue. ‘It is clear that the kinds of financial concerns the auditor has warned us about for years have come home in a very dramatic fashion, Lazarus said. The officials say they are committed to finding a solution, which could include selling the plant, turning it over to the Franklin County Solid Waste Authority, or both...” The Columbus Dispatch, June 24, 1990.


“Emissions from the Windham incinerator may be to blame for serious, recently discovered, damage to dozens of nearby trees, but the plant is operating again after being shut down Wednesday. The damage was discovered by residents of the Stonegate Manor Mobile Home Park across the Route 6 expressway from the Windham Energy Recovery Facility. Park owner Jeffrey Ossen reported that trees on the park property and state property near the plant had been damaged. Officials now believe that the shortening of two incinerator smokestacks by 15 feet three months ago could have caused pollution particles to mix with steam being released at that level and fall onto the trees, Windham First Selectman Daniel Lein said yesterday...DEP Air Management Unit Bureau Chief Carl Pavetto said if the plant is at fault, enforcement action, including fines could result. ‘The investigation is continuing on what the shortening of the stack could have done,’ Pavetto said. ‘It’s too premature to say at this point. The incinerator is owned and operated by the town of Windham, and serves several towns in eastern Connecticut...The stacks had been shortened from 55 [to] 40 feet to make room for cranes installing new pollution control equipment, [Selectman] Lein said. Existing pollution control devices are operating, but the new ones, required by the state to bring the plant up to code, are not complete...About 20 acres of the 45-acre park have been affected by the damage, Ossen said. He said his tenants’ lawns have also turned brown...A report issued yesterday by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station said a microscopic examination revealed that no virus, disease or insect caused the damage. ‘The symptoms observed are consistent with some kind of chemical injury,’ assistant scientist Victoria Lynn Smith wrote. ‘The exact causal agent of the damage could not be determined.’ Smith also wrote that the damage was apparently caused by a ‘single acute exposure to the causal agent,’ rather than a long-term exposure. Damage was confined to the narrow band of trees near the incinerator; trees outside the area are still healthy. Smith included a list of several specific trees and plants damaged, with symptoms including browning of needles, loss of needles and scorched leaf tips, and translucent leaves on maple trees and lilies of the valley. ‘We also noted that white pines closest to the Windham Energy Recovery Facility (WERF), on the northeast side, were the most severely injured,’ the report said. ‘There appeared to be no similar injury to the plants on the southwest side.” Norwich Bulletin (CT), 6-22-90, front page. “WERF plant manager Donald White said the incident occurred after the town contracted to install dry scrubbers for the smokestacks. The equipment controls acidic discharges, he said. The smokestacks were dismantled while the scrubbers were installed, but the incinerator continued to operate...” Norwich Bulletin, 6-23-90. “...Officials don’t know yet exactly what caused the damage to the trees, but DEP and local officials suspect hydrochloric acid...Two residents of the Stonegate Mobile Home Park, where many of the damaged trees are, say they suffered respiratory problems serious enough to send them to Windham Community Memorial Hospital, mobile home part owner Jeffrey Ossen said...Park resident Peggy Conroy, 55, has had asthma for many years, but on June 3 she suffered her worst attack in 21 years, she said. She went to Windham Hospital, where she spent the next nine days. She said she came home with a breathing machine to use in emergencies. Conroy said she’s not ready to blame the incinerator, but that she’s suspicious of it...Town health officer Dr. Peter Jones reported that small does of hydrochloric acid are more harmful to plants than people, but that it could cause temporary upper respiratory problems or eye irritation...”Norwich Bulletin, 6-26-90. Video #5 produced by VideoActive in 1986 on the Windham incinerator noted the fact that this incinerator had operated for nearly one and a half years without air pollution control devices connected, i.e., they used their dump-stacks for one and a half years years because the company that was purchasing the steam left town. It took them l l/2 years to install a turbine generator to convert the steam to electricity. Because the gasses would burn out the baghouse, the operator had three options: (1) produce the steam and vent it; (b) close down the incinerator; or, (3) run the incinerator, and vent the flue gasses directly from the furnace to the dump-stack into the environment. They chose the later, despite the fact that there were trailer homes 1,500 feet downwind of the incinerator. Video #5 is available for $12 from VideoActive Productions, Box 322, Route 2, Canton, NY 13617.

WASTE NOT #109 A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year, annual rates are: Individual & Non-Profits $35; Student & 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.