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

WTI’s Hazardous Waste Incinerator
in East Liverpool,Ohio:

The U.S.A.’s largest commercial hazardous waste incinerator.
(Also see Waste Not #s 156,157,184,185,186,200,215,216)

Owner & Operator:
Waste Industries Technologies (WTI) is owned, according to U.S. EPA Region V, by an American subsidiary of VON ROLL of Switzerland. VON ROLL illegally manufactured parts for Iraq’s Supergun. VON ROLL also owns New Jersey Steel Corporation, a company that has racked up serious air emission violations. (See Waste Not # 200.)

Construction completed in August 1992. Though some hazardous waste has been brought on site, the incinerator has been unable to begin its ‘shake down’ because of massive citizen protests.

Specifics of Project:
Two rotary kilns will be permitted to burn a total of 176,000 tons of liquid hazardous waste per year. WTI is permitted to handle another 83,000 tons of inorganic waste. It will have a storage capacity of nearly 3 million gallons of pumpable liquid and 610,000 gallons of drum storage. WTI estimates that 11,000 trucks and 1,000 railcars of hazardous waste will be received each year.

Location of the Incinerator:
1,100 feet from an elementary school; within 400 feet of residential homes; abuts the Ohio River, a source of drinking water for millions; located in a 100-year flood plain; and in a valley where meteorological records documented air inversions for 69% of the days in 1990. The Ohio River, at this junction, abuts three states: West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The State of Ohio acquired the site by the right of eminent domain in 1981 for the “public purpose” of developing a port area at a cost of 4 million Ohio taxpayer dollars. In August 1992 the site was sold to Swiss-owned Von Roll, a waste-for-profit industry.

Health Risk Assessment (HRA):
The HRA was submitted on 4-8-83 and was approx. 25 pages long (see Waste Not #157). The HRA was prepared by William D. Rowe, director of the American University Institute for Risk Analysis, Washington, D.C. [Rowe previously worked for the U.S. EPA Radiation Program from 1972-1978, and for the Mitre Corp. from 1968-1972.] U.S. EPA Region V illegally issued WTI their permit to build and operate on 6-24-83. The HRA is currently (!) being prepared under the auspices of U.S. EPA Region V - an agency that has lost all credibility with the people! Waste Not will cover the HRA in upcoming issues.

The following is a brief chronology of the 182 arrests made in the battle to stop WTI.

11-23-92: 9 people (7 of them school teachers) were arrested for protesting at WTI’s site. The treatment of the arrested was significantly harsher than those previously arrested. The police who made the arrests wore riot helmets and displayed night-sticks. The judge threw the 9 arrested in jail for two days and made them each pay $150 plus court costs, while placing them on a one year unsupervised probation. The judge also gave them 8 hours of community service.

11-22-92: 75 PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED PROTESTING AGAINST WTI. Approximately 450 people showed up for Sunday’s rain-drenched rally to protest against WTI’s plans to start-up America’s largest commercial hazardous waste incinerator. Those who spoke at the rally included Terri Swearingen of the Tri-State Environmental Council; Jonathan Wishan, a successful hazardous waste incinerator fighter from North Carolina; Dr. Elissa Weiss, representing a group of doctors from Pittsburgh, PA; Dr. Ted Hill who spoke on behalf of local doctors; Jessica Smith, president of the East Liverpool High School Ecology Club; Rev. John Cheetham, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Chester, WV; and Beth Newman of Greenpeace. Beth informed the crowd that they would be subject to arrest if they entered WTI’s property. People brought ladders to climb the fence (they also brought bits of carpet to place over the barbed wire that topped the fence) that separates WTI from the East Liverpool community. Chuck Smith of East Liverpool was the first person over the fence. 21 people climbed the fence before the police intercepted the long line of people waiting to climb the ladders. People then began to crawl under the fence. A total of 42 people entered WTI and were arrested, while 33 people were arrested outside of the gate. The police took the arrested off the site in school buses. When people tried to stop the buses from leaving the police over-reacted by spraying MACE into the air of the peaceful and non-violent crowd. Some people were affected. Terri Swearingen’s 10 year old daughter got MACE in her eyes. There would have been many more arrests if it weren’t for the police action to stop people from entering WTI. The arrested were booked for criminal trespass and photographed. WTI also photographs & video-tapes all protest events.

11-20-92: 5 local business people were arrested for protesting at WTI’s site.

11-20-92: 1 steelworker was arrested for protesting at WTI’s site.

11-19-92: 10 members of labor unions were arrested for protesting at WTI’s site.

11-18-92: 5 medical people were arrested for protesting at WTI’s site:2 doctors, 2 nurses & med.technologist.

11-17-92: 11 parents were arrested for protesting at WTI’s site.

11-16-92: 8 grandparents were arrested for protesting at WTI’s site.

7-20-92: 12 people were arrested at the U.S. EPA’s offices in Washington, DC, after they refused to leave the building. According to Alonzo Spencer, one of the arrested: “We are hungering for justice in East Liverpool, Ohio. Whatever we suffer to stand against this outrage is nothing compared to what our children will suffer if WTI is allowed to spew lead, mercury and dioxin into our valley.” - Morning Journal, OH, 7-21-92. (See Waste Not # 216.)

12-17-91: Ten people arrested at the Ohio EPA’s headquarters in Columbus. “The State Highway Patrol arrested 10 people last night who spent six hours handcuffed to the furniture and to each other in the office of Donald R. Schregardus, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The 10 were among about 50 people from East Liverpool, O., and neighboring communities in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The protesters invaded the EPA headquarters just after 11 a.m. yesterday to protest construction of the nation’s largest hazardous waste incinerator in East Liverpool by Waste Technologies Industries...While about 35 people crowded around the first-floor receptionist desk, where they were asked to sign in, the remainder dashed up four flights of steps to Schregardus’ office. The smaller group barged past Schregardus’ shocked receptionist and five people promptly placed their arms in 3-foot metal tubes and handcuffed themselves arm-to-arm in a circle around Schregardus’ desk chair. Another protester handcuffed herself to the base of a flag staff and one other person snapped a thumb cuff to Schregardus’ desk. As protesters sat in Schregardus’ office, many members of the remaining group downstairs roamed the EPA at will, opening drawers and removing files, riding the elevators up and down and passing out ‘taxpayer’s pink slips’ firing employees because ‘Ohio’s new EPA will be changed to protecting the public, rather than protecting toxic polluters’...A flustered Gerry G. Ionnides, EPA’s deputy director, offered the chained group coffee and water and asked them to unchain themselves and ‘be civilized.’ The protesters refused, saying they would shut down the EPA. ‘It’s illegal to shut down this agency,’ Ionnides replied...During the six hours, protesters chanted from behind Schregardus’ closed office door, met with patrol officials and ordered pizzas, which were refused at the building’s entrance...The protesters demanded that the EPA halt construction of the incinerator, that the EPA open all of its WTI files to the public and that Schregardus issue a written commitment to a mandatory reduction program for industrial toxics used by industry. About 5 p.m. 10 plainclothes patrol officers loaded the protesters into police vans.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer. 12-18-91.

10-15-91: 2 were arrested after they laid down in front of the gates of WTI. “The Rev. John Cheetham...and Elaine McClung, a Chester schoolteacher, lay down on mats on the muddy driveway leading to the hazardous waste incinerator...while a crowd of 50 supporters held banners, chanted anti-WTI slogans and prayed around them while company officials the city police looked on...They were each charged with obstructing official business and disorderly conduct, misdemeanor offenses carrying maximum fines of $750 and $250, respectively, and possible jail sentences of 30 to 90 days...” The Morning Journal, 10-16-91.

10-14-91: 1 arrested. Gregory Scott Brown of Greenpeace was handing out information about the ‘safety concerns’ involving WTI’s plans, when he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

10-13-91: 33 people were arrested after they climbed a fence to enter WTI to protest the incinerator. Martin Sheen, the actor, was the first one over the fence. 700 people protesting WTI were at the site to witness the arrests. The 33 plead “not guilty” by invoking a necessity defence. The protesters were acquitted after a 4-day jury trial.-see Waste Not # 185.

9-25-91: No arrests were made when 700 opponents of WTI’s incinerator blocked a U.S. EPA hearing on the incinerator. “The federal and Ohio environmental protection agencies had planned the hearing to take comments on the incinerator now under construction by Waste Technologies Industries. But as soon as an unidentified official began speaking to start the hearing on the proposed design changes about 700 opponents began whistling, stamping their feet and chanting ‘WTI, we won’t die’ and “EPA, go away.’ Even before officials tried to hold the hearing, the opponents held a demonstration, which they called a ‘funeral for democracy.’ They said they believed environmental officials already had made up their minds to approve the project, and called the hearing a sham...” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, 9-26-91.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Connie Stein at 304-232-4083; Terri Swearingen at 304-387-0574; Alonzo Spencer in East Liverpool, Ohio, at 216-385-4584; Joy Allison at 304-387-2259; or Beth Newman at Greenpeace, 304-387-1007.

WASTE NOT # 217. 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.