A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 October 25, 1990


“The German Federation for Nature Protection (GFNP) warns: Incinerators spewing dioxin - Latest tests in Ingolstadt show extremely high dioxin levels. The most recent measurements of dioxin levels at the incinerator site in Ingolstadt are extremely worrisome for the German nation as a whole. At the end of July, for the first time in Germany, one of the incinerator units was shut down because of elevated dioxin levels. Since then a second of the three units was shut-down. According to the latest published emissions data, dioxin levels were up to 4,000 times higher than the planned 1991 standard of 0.1 nanogram dioxin per cubic meter air. Professor Otmar Wassermann, a Dioxin expert from Kiel, considers those numbers apocalyptic. He asked for an immediate study of the city of Ingolstadt and the surrounding area. The dioxin poisoning of the environment is more catastrophic than even pessimists had anticipated, reported the GFNP. The organization is convinced, that based on those emissions data, several kilograms of dioxin are emitted yearly from incinerators in the Federal Republic of Germany. Using the mean of the dioxin emissions data set from the Ingolstadt incinerator the result is a yearly 207 grams dioxin emission for this incinerator alone. This contrasts with Federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the combined annual dioxin output nationwide from all 37 incinerators would be only 400 grams. ‘Either this is the worst incinerator that was ever built and operated or the estimates of the agency are far too low,’ said Hubert Weiger, commissioner for nature protection of Nordbayern. The two closed units of the Ingolstadt incinerator were built in 1978. According to the GFNP, more than half of the 17 incinerators in Bavaria are older than the two Ingolstadt incinerator units. The GFNP interprets the low dioxin levels found during the second emissions test as a result of two facts: 1) the garbage was source separated at that time and 2) the car manufacturer AUDI, the largest industry in the region, was closed (vacation). GFNP demands that the third unit of the Ingolstadt incinerator should be shut down too since it emits more than the planned standard for dioxin. In addition the organization asks for studies of the soil, milk, other agricultural products and breast milk in the region. Considering the already high pollution level in the region GFNP considers further operation of the Ingolstadt incinerator as irresponsible. According to the environmental group ‘The Better Garbage Concept’...it seems very doubtful that the soil in the surrounding area shows only dioxin levels of up to 4 picogram per kilogram [ Ed. note: this is the level above which the German government prohibits agricultural use of the land] of soil. They argue that soil samples were never taken from areas exposed to the regions main wind flow. Furthermore the samples used in the analysis were taken from farmland up to 30cm deep. Much more meaningful would have been samples taken from virgin soil in a depth of no more than 2 cm.” Sud Deutsche Zeitung, 9-24-90.


Between June 16 and June 28, 1990, 1,060,000 registered voters in Bavaria went to their local town halls and signed a petition to put an anti-incinerator referendum on the ballot to be voted on in February 1991. This referendum calls for a new garbage law which would exclude incineration. Over the last 20 years the Bavarian government has permitted the building of 17 trash incinerators and was planning to build 15 more. If the referendum passes no new incinerators will be built and the existing incinerators will be phased out as the “Better Garbage Concept” goes into operation. If this motion passes it will send shock waves through the incinerator industry world-wide because Bavaria is seen as the most pro-incinerator province in Germany which in turn is seen as one of the most pro-incinerator countries in Europe. Moreover, the leading incinerator builders in America use German technology, e.g., Ogden Martin uses the German-designed Martin furnace and Wheelabrator uses the Von Roll technology, etc. A new video from Videoactive Productions will examine the growing opposition to incineration in Europe. In particular, it will report on the amazing feat by no less than 90 citizens groups in Bavaria who organized to get the anti-incineration referendum on the ballot, discussed above. An important component in the success of this referendum campaign was the active support of many doctors who are concerned about the build-up of dioxins in the environment and mother’s breast milk. They are also concerned about the high rate of respiratory problems, and other health problems, in the vicinity of incinerators.


. The settlement concludes a class-action suit brought three years ago in Philadelphia federal court by several customers including Cumberland Farms Inc.. a Canton, Mass., convenience-store operator. The suit charged Waste Management and Browing-Ferris Industries Inc., Houston, the nation’s two largest waste haulers, with the antitrust conspiracy. The suit is believed to mark the first time that Waste Management and Browing-Ferris have been alleged to have conspired on a nation-wide basis to violate antitrust laws. The two companies operate in more than 40 states and abroad. Waste Management said Browing-Ferris has also agreed to a settlement, but the officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. A Waste Management spokesman denied wrongdoing in the case. “There isn’t evidence of the broad conspiracy that was charged,’ he said. He added that the company agreed to settle to avoid lengthy litigation, adding that the settlement applies to claims in 13 states. Waste Management said the settlement would be paid out of funds previously reserved for that use. The settlement won’t have an effect on fourth-quarter net income expectations, the company said...” Wall Street Journal, 11-6-90, page C-18.


. Browning-Ferris Industries Inc.’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, hurt by $67.1 million in pretax charges, plunged by more than half from the year-earlier period. Jolted investors dumped the Houston waste-handling concern’s shares, which plunged $6, or 20%, to close at $24.25 in composite trading on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. The stock was the Big Board’s most-active issue, with volume of nearly 3.8 million shares...The stock’s breathtaking fall yesterday ‘has more to do with operating earnings prior to the write-offs, [and] the outlook for next year,’ said Paine Webber Inc. analyst Robert Miner. ‘The things that impacted the operating earnings were much more severe than the street had been expecting.’ The company’s big charge included a $30.5 million provision for settlement of a lawsuit charging both it and Waste Management Inc. with price-fixing for container-refuse service...Like its competitor and co-defendant, Browing-Ferris denied any wrongdoing, and said it settled the 1987 complaint in order to avoid lengthy litigation. Unlike Waste Management, however, Browning-Ferris hadn’t taken an earlier reserve to cover effects of the settlement. Browning-Ferris also took a $36.5 million pretax charge to cover ‘certain landfill market development projects which may ultimately prove to be unsuccessful.’ A spokesman said the company’s strategy calls for it to ‘continually’ seek to expand the number of landfill sites it operates. Such developments ‘require a lot of upfront spending’ he said, adding ‘the times are changing. It is by no means a foregone conclusion’ that efforts to get permits and other regulatory clearances ‘will succeed every time...” Wall Street Journal, 11-7-90, pg.B-5. In the New York Times of 11-7-90, pg. D4: “Kay Hahn, an analyst for the Chicago Corporation, said the biggest challenge facing Browning-Ferris next year was the lack of a strong management team. ‘The problems are inside Browning-Ferris, not outside,’ she said. ‘I think they’ve got a fair amount of work to do on the internal work of the company to improve operating capability.” WASTE NOT # 122 A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year. Annual rates are: Groups & Non-Profits $50; Individual $40; Students & Seniors

$35; Consultants & For-Profits $125; Canadian Subscriptions $US45. Editors: Paul & Ellen Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.