A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 February 6, 1993

East Liverpool, Ohio:
Von Roll’s Hazardous Waste Incinerator.
The Hearing To Stop The Test Burn.


Though Von Roll has been barred from performing a Test Burn, it has been allowed to begin Shake-Down testing.
At the Hearing U.S. District Judge Ann Aldrich “allowed Greenpeace lawyers
to play a four-minute videotape of the incinerator taken Jan. 22 and Jan. 23 while the plant
burned hazardous wastes during its ‘shakedown phase.’ The video showed a heavy pall
of white smoke leaving the stack and spiraling to the ground. Other pictures showed the
plume curling near the trees and homes. The pictures were taken about a quarter mile
from the plant.” The Plain Dealer, Ohio, 2-9-93.

February 5: Activists meet with U.S. EPA director Carol Browner. It was at this meeting that Browner removed herself from the Von Roll/WTI incineration issue when she learned that Citizen Action, a public-interest lobbying group that employs her husband, Michael Podhorzer, is opposed to the Von Roll incinerator. Richard Morganstern, the Acting Deputy Administrator of the U.S. EPA, hired during the Reagan Administration, has replaced Carole Browner for decisions relating to WTI. Mr. Morganstern, who was also at this meeting, told the activists that he knew little of the WTI issue, at which point the citizens spent most of the meeting apprising Mr. Morgenstern of the issues.


Name of Lawyer Affiliation Representing

1. Greer Goldman U.S. Department of Justice U.S. EPA & Carol Browner

2. Seth Barsky U.S. Department of Justice U.S. EPA & Carol Browner

3. Brian Grant U.S. EPA General Counsel Washington, D.C.

4. Nancy Ellen Zusman U.S. EPA Region V Chicago, Illinois

5. Arthur Harris U.S. District Attorney Northern District, Ohio

6. Randolph Wiseman Bricker & Eckler, Columbus, OH Von Roll / WTI

7. Charles Waterman III Bricker & Eckler “ Von Roll / WTI

8. Bernandette Bollas Bricker & Eckler “ Von Roll / WTI

9. Robert Taylor Swidler & Berlin, Washington, D.C. Von Roll / WTI

10. John Ferguson Swidler & Berlin “ Von Roll / WTI

11. Barry Direnfeld Swidler & Berlin “ Von Roll / WTI

12. Jim Payne Ohio E.P.A. Ohio EPA

13. Paula Cotter Ohio E.P.A. Ohio EPA


1. Mick Harrison Government Accountability Project Washington, D.C.

2. Richard Condit Government Accountability Project “

3. Chris Sweeney GAP’s local attorney Cleveland, Ohio


Joy Allison, Becky Ammon, GREENPEACE, Margery & Robert McKinnon, Virgil Reynolds, Keith & Lois Sevy, Frank C. Smith, Alonzo Spencer, Terri Swearingen, Becky Tobin,

THE HEARINGS. The Hearings to stop the Test Burn at Von Roll’s incinerator in East Liverpool were held February 7 through February 9. The Hearing will reconvene on February 16. The Government Accountability Project (GAP), representing Greenpeace and East Liverpool area residents, is arguing that the short and long-term heath risks from the Von Roll hazardous waste incinerator are unacceptable and therefore it is meaningless to allow Von Roll and the U.S. EPA to perform a test burn. GAP substantiated their concerns in a petition1 they filed that led to the Hearings. Greenpeace says that the risks from the uptake in the food chain from the Von Roll incinerator emissions could be 10,000 times greater than the risks from inhalation route. Von Roll and the U.S. EPA are arguing that it needs to collect data from the test burn to accurately assess the risks. US EPA Region V prepared a health risk assessment on the Von Roll incinerator that assessed the heath risks for inhalation only. EPA Region V “missed” the fact that there are dairy and beef farms within a five mile radius of East Liverpool. Joy Allison, a plaintiff in this hearing, raises 75 beef cattle within a 3 miles of East Liverpool. [Allison told Waste Not that there is a dairy farm in Pennsylvania 3 miles downwind of East Liverpool and that many people in a radius of 5 miles from the incinerator site raise their own beef.] It was the plaintiff’s affidavits that triggered the U.S. EPA Office of Research & Development (ORD) to prepare a Heath Risk Assessment that included the uptake of dioxin in the food chain. According to the 1-22-93 Guimond memo (see Waste Not # 226] the “preliminary assessment done by ORD does show that risks from beef and milk consumption can be 1,000 times higher than risks from inhalation near the WTI facility.” U.S. EPA’s own assessment validates GAP’s contention. GAP received the Guimond memo on the evening of February 7, the day the Hearings began. They had requested that the Health Risk Assessment prepared by U.S. EPA ORD be made available to them. Because of the U.S. EPA’s suppression of the Health Risk Assessment, GAP was given time to bring in rebuttal witnesses for the Hearing when it reconvenes on February 16.

1Discrepancies between WTI’s Air Emission Permit Limits

and Values the U.S. EPA used in preparing the Health Risk Assessment

Metals Emissions (lbs/yr) Value used in risk assessment Proposed permit limit

Lead 4,688 7,424

Mercury 1,277 2,570

Beryllium 4 8

Chromium 3 554

Arsenic 3 19

Cadmium 2 32

Antimony 0.1 24,893

Barium 234 4,129,829

Silver 30 247,725

Thallium 0.1 41,756

TOTAL 6,241 4,454,810


Harriet Croke (Chief of the Ohio Permit Section for the Office of RCRA of U.S. EPA Region V] spoke about the Health Risk Assessment [HRA] that her department was in charge of preparing. U.E. EPA Region V’s HRA only calculated inhalation as a route of exposure which calculated a risk of 1.3 cancers in one million. At the hearing Croke testified that the data used in this HRA was taken from emission figures from a Von Roll incinerator in Biebesheim, Germany. Croke testified that she received this data via a telephone-conference call. Croke admitted she knew nothing about the German PUV Institute that supplied the Von Roll data to her, and when asked, she said she did not know what wastes were being burned in the incinerator at the time the emissions data were obtained. Croke admitted that the data obtained on the Von Roll Biebesheim incinerator, and used in the U.S. EPA Region V HRA, had not been verified in any way.

Laura Green: witness for Von Roll/WTI. Laura Green said she does not consider elevated cancer levels in a community important information when calculating a health risk assessment. Green provided the toxicology and risk assessment analysis for Von Roll. Green’s health risk assessment utilized inordinately non-conservative assumptions to come up with an excess cancer risk, assuming uptake in the food chain, of ONE IN TEN MILLION for one year of incinerator operation.

Dr. William Farland, Director, U.S. EPA Office of Health & Environmental Assessment testified at the Hearing for the defendants. GAP’s attorneys forced Farland to admit that the lifetime, or 70 year, dioxin cancer risk for exposure to WTI’s emissions was 2,800 per million. Farland reduced this to a 40 in a million risk assuming a one year exposure. Farland discounted these risks as unlikely “high end” risk estimates. Farland conveyed that EPA’s ORD Health Risk Assessment was not something to be alarmed about and that the risk was not significant. Farland stated that the U.S. EPA acceptable risk was 10 in a million cancer deaths. Farland admitted that the lack of local meteorological data to assess the risks were a concern.. [Such data, i.e., temperature inversions and stagnations that will likely cause the pollutants to stay in the area and be forced to the ground, are significant. Data from Allegheny County, PA, recorded air inversions in the area for 69% of the days in 1990. The area has complex terrain, the top of the Von Roll incinerator stack in East Liverpool is on the same level, or lower, than some of the terrain surrounding it

1 Government Accountability Project, “Petition requesting revocation of trial burn permit, opposing issuance of permit, requesting public hearing, and requesting the promulgation of regulations to protect public health.” January 1993.

WASTE NOT # 227. 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 $US50; Overseas $65. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.