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

in Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York:


Annual Permit Limits for Ogden Martin’s Syracuse Incinerator (810 tpd**) issued June 1992

Ref: 9-8-92 letter to County Legislator Vicki Baker from Andy Brigham of the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency



Lead .50 1,000 Formaldehyde 12.5 25,000

Mercury* .24 480 Ammonia 64.2 128,400

Cadmium .025 50 Dioxins/Furans (Total) 0.0000017 0.0034

Arsenic .010 20 PCBs 0.0042 8.4

Beryllium .00015 0.3 Hydrogen Chloride (HCL) 68.9 137,800

Chromium .0053 10.6 Sulfuric Acid Mist 22.2 44,400 Chromium (Total) .025 500 Non-Methane Hydrocarbons 36.3 72,600

Nickel .066 132 Fluoride (as Hydrogen Fluoride) 2.17 4,340

Manganese 3.55 7,000 Nitrogen Dioxide (NOX) 762.6 1,525,200

Copper .053 106 Carbon Monoxide 95.0 190,000

Vanadium .0079 15.8 Sulfur Dioxide 213.0 426,000

Zinc .25 500 Particulates (PM or PM10) 41.6 83,200

PAH s .00184 3.68

* Ogden Martin estimated mercury emissions at 3,580 pounds per year in their 1990 permit application submission.


Owner & Operator: Ogden Martin Systems of Onondaga County.

Pollution Controls: Activated charcoal injection, Dry scrubbers, de-NOx, Baghouse.

Cost of Incinerator: $152 million.

Bonds to be issued: $192 million in Revenue Bonds to be issued by the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA). “[B]onds grandfathered under ‘old’ tax laws.” (Ref: 1991 Resource Recovery Yearbook, page 518, published by Governmental Advisory Associates, Inc., New York City.)

Ogden’s Attorney: Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle. Lead Attorney: Richard Cogen. (Also attorney for Ogden’s 750 tpd incinerator in Huntington, L.I., NY; and for the proposed, but defeated, 250 tpd Harbert-Triga incinerator for St. Lawrence County, NY.)

Trash authority Attny: Langan, Grossman, Kinney, Dwyer & Reitz (Syracuse, NY)

Bond Counsel: Hawkins, Dellafield & Wood. (Also bond counsel for: Ogden’s 750 tpd oversized incinerator in Huntington, L.I., NY; Ogden’s 500 tpd incinerator proposed for Halifax, Nova Scotia; the proposed, but defeated, 1,700 tpd Westinghouse incinerator for Monmouth County, NJ; and the proposed, but defeated, 670 tpd Foster Wheeler incinerator for Broome County, NY.)
Bond Underwriter: Shearson Lehman Brothers Inc.. (Shearson contributed $7,500 to a Westinghouse-funded group created specifically to campaign for the passage of the 11-5-91 Oakland County, Michigan, referendum on a $500 million bond issue for a proposed 2,000 tpd Westinghouse incinerator for Oakland County. The referendum was passed by a narrow 186 votes out of over 140,000 cast. On 3-5-92, Westinghouse, at the 11th hour, pulled out of the incinerator contract they had negotiated with Oakland County. (See Waste Not #s 177 & 188.) Citizens are concerned that Ogden Martin will revive project.)

Financial Advisor: Charter Fiscal Assoc.

Bond Rating: Moody’s

Bond Trustee: Bankers Trust, New York City

Health Risk Assmnt: Environmental Health Associates. Edwin Holstein. (See Waste Not # 123 for more background.)

Health Risk Assmnt: William F. Cosulich Associates. According to The Post-Standard, 11-17-88: A report by “the state Health Department might be the most damaging technical critique of Cosulich’s work. The report cites many errors, including a calculation mistake that underestimated by a factor of five a child’s risk from drinking contaminated breast milk.”

Consulting Engineer: R.W. Beck. (Beck has been involved with several Ogden Martin incinerators, some of which are: Ogden’s 2,300 tpd incinerator in Indianapolis, IN, cited by the US EPA with over 6,000 permit violations; Ogden’s 1,200 tpd incinerator proposed for Fort Myers,FL -close to the Everglades; and Ogden’s 528 tpd incinerator in Lake County, FL.)

Landfill Consultant: William F. Cosulich -“frequent contributors to local political campaigns”, Post-Standard, 3-27-91.

Landfill Consultant: William Harrington & Associates, a subsidiary of Maniktala Associates.

Air Modeling and Solid Waste Plan: O’Brien & Gere Engineers Inc.

Public Relations: Omni Communications and Mower Associates - PR firms that the county trash agency used.

Permit Issued: June 15, 1992, by Thomas Jorling, Commissioner, NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Permit Under Appeal: On July 14, 1992, a coalition of the county’s environmental groups appealed the PSD (Prevention of Significant Deterioration) Permit to the U.S. EPA. See Waste Not # 213 for a review of the appeal.

**Tons per day: Originally 990 tpd. When the NY DEC issued the permit for Ogden’s incinerator, the DEC limited the annual through-put tonnage to be incinerated at 295,000 tons, or approx. 810 tpd, to insure a county recycling rate of 40% by 1997. This permit condition was a response to citizens concerns that the incinerator was grossly oversized. Prior to the DEC permit, the county’s contractual obligation with Ogden was to deliver 310,000 tpy. According to Don Hughes, formerly with the Atlantic States Legal Foundation, the incinerator is still oversized. Ogden Martin estimated that its annual down-time at the incinerator would be 14%. Hughes contends that the DEC’s down-sizing corresponds to Ogden’s 14% down-time estimate.

Trash Agency: Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA). “The Onondaga County Legislature gave up control of its trash program to an independent agency [on 6-29-89]...‘It passed by the skin of its teeth,’ said Majority Leader Robert Tomeny. Minutes after the 13-7 votes (13 votes were required for passage), the measure was signed by County Executive Nicholas Pirro and rushed by courier to Albany. The [NY] State Assembly [on the same day, 6-29-89] unanimously approved the bill that revives the dormant Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency; Senate approval is expected today [6-30-89 -it passed], the last day of the current session...The city had threatened to pull out of the project if the measure had not passed, possibly torpedoing the county’s landfill, incineration and recycling programs...”-The Post-Standard, 6-30-89. The trash agency has the power to issue bonds and set rates “without interference from lawmakers or the public. ‘The county’s lack of control is intentional,’ said Richard Grossman, the county’s consulting attorney on solid waste matters. ‘Authorities are meant to be independent bodies which don’t react to political pressure,’ he said. ‘Historically they were created for the purpose of taking the heat off local government.’” -The Post-Standard, 11-14-89. p B-3.

Electricity Revenue: On June 28, 1992, the N.Y. State Legislature repealed the law guaranteeing a 6 cents per kilowatt hour price for electricity sold by independent power generators in NY State. Incinerators in NY can no longer rely on the state to require electric utilities to subsidize their energy production. (The utilities say that it costs them 2 cents/Kwh or less to generate electricity.) The repeal of the 6 cents law would, according to OCRRA -the county’s trash agency, cause a loss of more than $26 million to the incinerator project. This impact on the project is part of the appeal to the US EPA. See Waste Not # 213.

Proposed Ash Landfill: To secure a NY State incinerator permit, a 5-year disposal capacity for the incinerator ash must be assured. The trash agency, OCRRA, has paid $200,000 to CHAMBERS DEVELOPMENT [see Waste Not #213] to reserve space at their Charles City County landfill in Virginia to meet the NY DEC requirement. This agreement meets the letter of the DEC permit requirement, but does not reflect the intentions of OCRRA, which is trying to develop a county ash landfill site.

Proposed County Landfill: In the town of Van Buren, which is in the N.W. part of the county. The town has sued and got the right to do their own testing in the landfill area. The town is insisting there is an aquifer under the proposed landfill site. Across the street from the landfill is a million gallon reservoir. The status of the landfill on whether it can only receive ash, and not MSW waste, is under discussion with the Federal Aviation Administration, because of the landfill’s proximity to an airport. Town officials and residents have vigorously opposed the landfill.

Incinerator Site: Town of Onondaga, which is 4 miles south of downtown Syracuse and adjacent to Interstate 481. According to Onondaga County Legislator Vicki Baker ‘45% of all the elderly in the county live within 3 miles of the incinerator site.’ Within 8/10ths mile of the incinerator is a trailer park. Within 3 miles: geriatric center and senior housing. Within 4 miles there is a state-run prison, located downwind, in the town of DeWitt. The site is in a valley, surrounded on three sides by hills. Meteorological inversions happen frequently on cold nights, but, according to the trash authority “major” inversions happen rarely in the valley where the incinerator is to be built. The town’s host compensation package: a minimum of $200,000 per year. In accepting the compensation package the town waived any and all rights to oppose the incinerator.

Major Opponents: Recycle First; Jamesville Positive Action Committee; Atlantic States Legal Foundation; S.E. University Neighborhood Assoc.; Iroquois Group of the Sierra Club; Outer Comstock Neighborhood Association, Drumlins Terrace Assoc.

Major Proponent: The powerful County Executive Nickolas Pirro and the thriving old-boy-system of politics-as-usual in Syracuse; the area’s trade unions; and the newspaper editors of the Syracuse-based Post-Standard and Herald-American.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Sharon Sherman, 315-449-1318; Don Hughes, 315-471-6399; Vicki Baker, 315-469-5347; Sam Sage, 315-475-1170; or Paul Burns, 617-738-5296. Paul worked from 1987-summer 1992 opposing the incin.

WASTE NOT # 212. 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.