A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 November 28, 1991
The operators of the Essex County incinerator were fined $262,600 for releasing into the air unacceptably high amounts of mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide, the state Department of Environmental Protection and Energy announced [11-26-91]. The DEPE also ordered the operators of the Newark-based incinerator to adopt a mercury separation program. Essex County officials say a program to recycle household batteries, which contain mercury, is scheduled to begin Dec. 1...The Essex County incinerator is the states largest, burning 800,000 tons of garbage a year, 250,000 of which comes from Bergen County. The operators were fined $260,000 for exceeding permitted levels of sulfur dioxide 21 times, emitting darker than allowed smoke seven times, and emitting oxygen concentrations that fell below the minimum standards. The company was also fined $2,000 for exceeding permitted levels of mercury. In August, operators paid a $200,000 penalty for emitting high nitrogen oxide levels. DEPE officials say the pollution levels pose no danger...American Ref-Fuel general manager Larry Smith said he challenged the fines: I was not expecting to be fined for these, no. We are surprised and shocked that we got it because the plant is one of the top operating plants in the entire United States. The burner emits 0.058 pounds an hour of mercury...The maximum amount allowed is 0.053 pounds an hour. The burner also emits an average of 130 pounds an hour of nitrogen oxide, a gas that contributes to smog. The permit allows 95 pounds an hour...The burner no longer exceeds its permit to release sulfur dioxide, officials said. The facility has stopped accepting wallboard, a construction debris that elevates sulfur dioxide, which can cause acid rain... The Record, 11-17-91, pg A3. For more information contact: Arnold Cohen, Ironbound Committee, 95 Fleming Avenue, Newark, NJ 07105. Tel: 201-589-4668.
...The State Department of Environmental Protection and Energy cited the burners operators for 14 violations including: * high levels of sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide. * Bypassing pollution controls. *Operating below minimum-temperature requirements. *Allowing burner ash to escape into the environment. *Using an uncertified monitoring device. *Failing to perform a required emissions test for hydrochloric acid. The infractions took place between Oct. 1, 1990 and June 30 of this year, DEPE officials said...Bill Mack, an executive vice-president for Ogden...said some of the violations probably occurred during startup and shutdown procedures at the plant, a fact he said new federal guidelines now take into consideration [See Waste Not #114 on The Malfunction Provision]...Bart Carthart [Executive Director of the countys pollution control financing authority that oversees operations at the plant] said the high readings for sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide probably stemmed from sudden unusual changes in the content of the garbage burned...The facility flunked six three-hour tests for sulfur dioxide and a one-hour test for carbon monoxide, officials said. Steve Krivanek, an avid proponent of tougher pollution-control devices at the burner, said the high carbon monoxide is an indicator of the presence of dioxin...The DEPE also cited the burner for bypassing a so-called baghouse while burning garbage... Express-Times, Easton, PA, 11-27-91. For more information contact: Anna Maria Caldera at 201-362-8805.
The refuge in West Deptford Township, bordered by U.S. 130, the Delaware River and the Big Timber Creek, was officially opened yesterday [11-21-91]...[Kevin Stickney, public relations director for Wheelabrator] said it will be maintained by Wheelabrator. He said it will be open to the public, and, in fact, several groups of schoolchildren have already been booked....The plot with the incinerator is 152 acres, and the 100 acres of the wildlife refuge is land originally intended to be a buffer between the incinerator and the borough of Westville. Stickney said Wheelabrator wanted to put the land to use in a way that would benefit the community and help the environment. So we got in touch with the New Jersey Audubon Society people to find out how to sustain that kind of habitat. He said Paul Kerlinger of the New Jersey Audubon Societys Cape May Bird Observatory developed the nature trail and a management plan for the sanctuary. Kerlinger, conducting a tour of the wildlife refuge yesterday, said the half-mile nature trail has 11 observation stations and goes through at least five different environments, from tidal mud flats, gravel bank, riparian forest and old field to upland dry forest. He said his plan tells the refuges managers, who all work for Wheelabrator, what species of vegetation and wildlife can be expected to be found in each environment. Kerlinger said such a refuge on the Delaware River migratory route is extremely valuable. He said scores of species of birds will stop to rest on their migrations both in the fall and the spring. The establishment of such refuges, however, does little to reverse the alarming loss of natural habitat, he said. This is no reversal; this is just slowing down the free-fall. The Star-Ledger , 11-23-91. In Gloucester County, Wheelabrator was fined $110,000 for more than 30 violations at its incinerator. Most involved carbon monoxide violations or oxygen violations. Plant manager Dave Beavens blames most of the violations at the plant during a brief blackout and minor equipment malfunction. There never was any risk to the public or the environment, he said. Star Ledger, 11-27-91.
GERMANY LEADS THE WAY BY RATIFYING NEW PACKAGING LAWS WITH AGGRESSIVE RECYCLING REQUIREMENTS. Last April, with widespread political support, Germanys federal government ratified a new packaging law that is tougher than anything introduced in any other country. Its aim is to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and incineration. As from December 1st companies must take back and recycle packaging used during transport, or arrange for somebody else to do so. From April 1992 that law will extend to secondary packaging - intermediate layers such as gift wrapping or the cardboard box around a whiskey bottle. From January 1st 1993 it will cover all packaging, from yoghurt pots to butter wrappers...By July 1st 1995 80% of packaging waste must be collected...Germanys provision applies to everyone. Of the collected materials, 90% of glass and metals must be recycled, and 80% of paper, board, plastics and laminates. Incineration, even if used to generate power, is ruled out...To cope, companies have set up the Duales System Deutschland (DSD), which will run its own waste-collection system. Depending on the size of their containers, participating companies will pay between 1 and 20 pfennigs (12 cents) an item. In exchange, their product will carry a green dot showing that their packaging can be recycled and thus qualifies for collection under the DSD scheme. Firms that do not join will have to make their own arrangements. Payments for the dot will pay for the DSD...Volkswagon has learnt how to strip down a car in 20 minutes and has promised to take back and recycle for free its latest Golf...The German packaging industry will undoubtedly gain. German companies will prefer to buy a standard container, made from materials that they know to be readily recyclable; and packaging will acquire a cheap source of raw material... The Economist, ll-30-91, page 73.