A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 July 1992

National Grassroots Action to
Stop the WTI hazardous waste incinerator
in East Liverpool, Ohio

Spread the word. Unite for environmental justice.

Message from Greenpeace: For twelve years citizens from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania have been battling Waste Technologies Industries’ (WTI) proposal to operate the largest hazardous waste incinerator in the world. The incinerator sits on the banks of the Ohio River, in a floodplain, just 300 feet from a residential neighborhood and just 1100 feet from an elementary school. This is a valley where air inversions occur 2 out of every 3 days and stagnation can trap toxic pollution near the Ohio River, the homes and the school. The U.S. ‘Environmental Protection Agency’ has granted WTI a permit to legally spew over 4 and a half tons of lead and over one ton of mercury per year into this valley. But citizens of this community are still fighting valiantly. Ten different citizens groups, involving several thousand people throughout the Ohio River Valley are desperately working to stop WTI.


To demonstrate their commitment to stopping WTI, 14 citizens began a hunger strike on July 20th, after EPA officials refused to address their concerns during a scheduled meeting and instead had citizens arrested in the EPA building in Washington, DC. That hunger strike has now grown to 26 citizens who have vowed not to eat until WTI’s permits are revoked.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
August 5-6-7-or until you can get through to:
(Phone lines will be likely be busy, so please keep trying. If it is too difficult, please write.)

William Reilly, Director, U.S. EPA Phone 202-260-4700 Fax 202-260-0279
401 M St, SW, Rm. 1200, West Tower, Wash., DC 20460

Valdus Adamkus, Administrator, EPA Region 5 Phone 312-353-2000 Fax 312-353-1120
77 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604-3590

President George Bush Phone 202-456-1414,
The White House, Washington, DC 20500

WASTE NOT Editorial: EPA Obscuring the Obvious.
Currently the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is using a consulting firm to conduct a 2-phase health risk assessment of WTI’s fully built commercial hazardous waste incinerator. The EPA claims that this is not required by law but that they are doing it to placate the public’s fears. However, citizens see this for what it is: a shallow public relations exercise, not a genuine attempt to assess the dangers of the project. If the EPA was truly interested in assessing those dangers it would have hired an actuary to have calculated the probability of there being an accident (leak, spill, fire, explosion, etc.) sometime in the next 20 years for an operation that expects to run 24 hours a day, 360 days a year. This calculation should be based on the track record of the hazardous waste incinerator industry in this country and abroad, including WTI’s sister plant in Biebesheim, Germany. Were such a calculation to be made it is almost a foregone conclusion that a serious accident will occur at this facility and when it does that the results will potentially be catastrophic, especially if it coincides with a period of air stagnation. Any mechanical, electrical, electronic or human failure could spell disaster for East Liverpool. There is is no fail safe. By way of example, when this plant was being built a natural gas line was ruptured and immediately the children in the elementary school on the little hill above the facility became nauseous and had to be evacuated. And this was natural gas! What if it had been a release of hydrogen cyanide or phosgene gas or some other highly toxic gas released from an accident. For the U.S. EPA to undertake superficial health risk assessments with all their known limitations and inadequacies is simply an attempt to obscure the obvious. This incinerator should never be allowed to operate at this site. The residents of the 3 states that will be affected by the air emissions of WTI’s incinerator (PA, WV, OH) continue to fight EPA’s attempt to allow the incinerator to start-up. In their extraordinary efforts to stop WTI they have revealed that the US EPA, up to July 23, 1992, did not even know who owned WTI and who held the liability for WTI -one of the world’s largest hazardous waste incinerators. A few hundred pages of information on WTI’s ownership were released to the general public on July 24th, the same day that this fully built incinerator was scheduled for shake down. We urge our readers to phone, fax or write the Director of the U.S. EPA Reilly; Valdus Adamkus (who as administrator of EPA Region 5, illegally issued WTI’s permit in 1983) and George Bush (whose 1989 inaugural party was hosted by Jackson Stephens, the Arkansas billionaire investor who started the WTI project in 1980. -See New York Times, 5-8-92, “2 Admit E.P.A. Violated Hazardous Waste Law in Issuing Permit.”)

Von Roll, a Swiss-based engineering firm, is the owner of WTI’S
hazardous waste incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio.
*** Von Roll is under federal indictment in Germany for illegally supplying Iraq with war material. According to a 3-20-91 report in the Neue Zuercher Zeitung, a newspaper in Bern, Switzerland, Von Roll is accused of actively supplying Iraq with materials to construct Saddam Hussein’s so-called ‘Supergun’ before armed conflict in the Gulf began. The newspaper reported that two Von Roll shipments were seized in Germany during May of 1990 by the Swiss Police and Justice Department. Von Roll had declared and labelled these shipments as components for stamping and forging presses. After investigation of the shipments, however, German armaments experts and the Swiss authorities agreed that these boxes, bound for Iraq, contained war materials. The Swiss Police and Justice Department apparently believed these components to be those needed to construct the rumored Iraqi ‘Supergun.’ The Swiss also revealed that Von Roll had already exported 18 shipments to Iraq with similar material, at a value of more than 5 million francs, between February and April, 1990. (from a 4-25-91 press release from Greenpeace, Chicago).

*** Von Roll owns 62% of New Jersey Steel Corp. (NJSC) in Sayreville, New Jersey, whose reported environmental violations are overwhelming. NJSC operates a mini-steel mill, which is a waste recycling plant (recycling junked autos, machines, R.R. cars, etc). NJSC “has been cited for causing forty air pollution violations and has been assessed penalties totalling approximately $250,000 since beginning its operations in 1973. On November 6, 1986, Robert Pasquarelli, President of [NYSC] signed an administrative consent order in which the company agreed to take various actions to upgrade its pollution control system and to pay fines of $54,900. This order is based on violations for operating the facility without all components of the pollution control system attached or functioning properly, excessive fugitive emissions from the facility in excess of 20% opacity, and failing to file the required pollution control reports. On July 9, 1989, an inspection disclosed that [NJSC] was not complying with the previously signed consent order. Between January 1988 and June 1989, [NJSC] has been cited by New Jersey DEP for causing eighteen air pollution violations.” -9-30-89 letter from Dante Mattioni of Mattioni, Matttioni & Mattioni, Ltd of Philadelphia, Pa. to Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey. A newspaper report in the Standard-Speaker (Hazelton, PA), 6-20-92: “The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has cited the New Jersey Steel Corp. for five violations found during a routine inspection of the Sayreville, N.J. plant in March...[the plant] uses cesium 137 inside gauges that measure the height of molten steel...The NRC’s notice of violation was dated April 19” 1992. According to a 11-3-89 report from Mattioni: “Von Roll Ltd. owns all of the stock of Monteforno, S.A., an Italian corporation. Monteforno, S.A. was the original owner of the NYSC at Sayreville, NJ. Von Roll Ltd. originally owned all of the shares of stock of [NYSC]. It appears that [NYSC] acquired the Sayreville plant from Monteforno, S.A. in 1978-79 era. This represented a shift from one Von Roll Ltd. subsidiary to another Von Roll Ltd. subsidiary. In May 1987 the [NYSC] sold 1,000,000 shares of stock in a public offering. At the conclusion of the offering, Von Roll Ltd. retained ownership of 62% of the stock...” Von Roll’s New Jersey Steel is proposing to build a similar mini-steel mill in Hazle Township in Pennsylvania. (Whitehall Township in PA had rejected New Jersey Steel because of its environmental history.) Residents in Hazel Township have also been opposing the proposal based on the serious environmental violations that New Jersey Steel has racked up in Sayreville. There will be a public hearing on the permit to build the mini-steel mill in Hazel Township on Monday, August 10. For more information contact Sue Fracke at 717-384-4877.


WASTE NOT # 200. A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year. Annual rates are: Groups & Non-Profits $50; Students & Seniors $35; Individual $40; Consultants & For-Profits $125; Canadian $US45; Overseas $65. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.