A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 SEPTEMBER 1994

How the Columbus, Ohio, incinerator was
prepared for the March 1994 Dioxin Tests:

* Special trash was stockpiled.
* The special trash was dried.
* Plastics were removed from the trash.

In a 1992 test, dioxin levels
peaked at 17,892 nanograms
per cubic meter of exhaust gas
-- nearly 600 times the EPA guidelines.
In the March 1994 test, dioxin levels
peaked at 3,790 nanograms per
cubic meter of exhaust gas.

Selected entries from the Columbus incinerator operator’s log:

2-14-94  “We lost our north   2-17-94 “Continue to isolate   the north end trash.  I do    
end trash last weekend, but   M.R. trash on the north end    not know how to avoid         
have recovered...Remember     of the pit and hold this       problems if everyone ignores  
the tests are very important  trash.”                        orders.  If anyone has        
and is our future.  We must   2-18-94 “I passed written      sugges-tions, please let me   
have the best combustion      order to hold on the north     know.  This test is our       
possible...”                  end of the pit.  If you look   future and I would think      
2-15-94 “Brian Hatfield       on page 269, 270, 271 you      every-one would be extremely  
instructed his M.R. [Morse    will read the written orders.  interested in helping out if  
Road shredder station]         After my investigation, it    possible.  It is sad to       
operators to use trash from   appears 2nd shift crane        think there is so little      
other areas of the pit as we  operator used the good, dry    interest in the future of     
must have a “good source” of  material on Sunday Feb. 20,    this facility...”             
trash for the test.  Hold     1994.                          2-22-94  “Continue to keep    
the north end trash.”         2-21-94 “Once again, inform    M.R. trash in the north       
2-16-94  “NOTE - We are       all crane operators to hold    three bays.  We will fill     
trying to get material        north end trash.  I had        the area up with M.R. trash   
(trash) in place for the      maintenance place rail stops   in preparation for our        
test...Save the north end     between #5 & #6 bunkers, but   testing.”                     
trash.”                       this creates a problem also.   Ref:  The Columbus Free       
                              Now we cannot fluff            Press, Summer 1994.           

A whistle-blower from the incinerator told Columbus
residents that the trash authority planned to rig the test
The residents found the proof in the incinerator logs.
The response of the U.S. EPA: We don’t care.

According to the Summer 1994 issue of the Free Press (Columbus, Ohio): “The log substantially confirms a whistle-blower’s account of activities prior to the testing. At a May 9, U.S. EPA public meeting in Columbus, Sherry Loscko, a member of Parkridge Area Residents Take Action (PARTA), informed officials that a source inside the plant reported that ‘trash was stockpiled in one area of the pit, they were turning it with cranes to dry it.’ According to Loscko, this was being done to lower the dioxin levels emitted from the stacks during the U.S. EPA testing...William Sanjour, U.S. EPA Policy Analyst, wrote an April 12 memo warning Valdus V. Adamkus, U.S. EPA Region V Administrator, that the actions of SWACO [trash authority] ‘might constitute a criminal conspiracy to violate federal environment laws’...Rigging the test results was a fairly easy thing to do since the U.S. EPA consent order required only one boiler to be tested. If the U.S. EPA’s original requirement to test all six boilers had been complied with, the logistics would have been far more diffcult. The boiler chosen was retrofitted with natural gas burning capabilities, and the test did not occur during ‘soot-blowing’ when dioxin levels are usually at their peak...SWACO’s official explanation is that they stored trash because they were worried about runing out of trash for the test. Sherry Losco wonders why, if the lack of trash was a concern, were they secretly shipping trash to Mid-America to have the total tonnage reduced...”

Mr. Pompili, the Director of the Columbus Health Dept., introduces a new Arithmatic and new Physics to the World.

Q. What is the difference between a mathematician, a philosopher and an incinerator consultant?

A. If you ask a mathematician what 2 + 2 is, he or she will tell you 4. If you ask a philosopher he or she will tell you it depends what you mean by 2 and what you mean by plus! If you ask an incinerator consultant he will tell you to shut the door and ask you what you want it to be.

On August 18, 1994, Mr. Pompili organized an extraordinary press conference in Columbus, Ohio. During this Orwellian media event Mr. Pompili tried to change the laws of elementary arithmatic and physics in a transparent effort to stonewall any meaningful action to address the extraordinarily high dioxin emissions measured in 1992 from the Columbus incinerator. Mr. Pompili hired Dr. Greg Rigo, of the consulting firm Rigo & Rigo from Cleveland, Ohio, to explain the dioxin situation to concerned residents and media. Without referring to any dioxin emissions from the Columbus incinerator, Dr. Rigo confidently calculated the sources of dioxin in the U.S. Environment:

33,000 grams = (Int’l. TEQ) of Dioxin enters the U.S. environment annually.

62 % = from unknown sources (possibly volcanoes & rotting wood)

20.5 % = from motor vehicles

4 % = from the production of herbicides & pesticides


2 % = from chlorine bleaching of paper

Oddly enough, Dr. Rigo’s calculations yield 850 grams of dioxin TEQs from ALL 100+ operating U.S. MSW incinerators per year, even though he knew that just one of those incinerators --the Columbus incinerator -- (based on a 1992 test) was yielding 984 grams dioxin TEQ! In this new arithmetic apparently one can add the combined dioxin emissions of over 100 incinerators to one incinerator emission of 984 grams, and get a grand total of 850 grams!!! After Dr. Rigo had given his paid performance, Mr. Pompili called upon Sam Waltz, deputy director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Mr. Waltz introduced a whole new theory about deposition of dioxins near a trash incinerator. Mr. Waltz said that all the dioxins fall within 2 km (less than 2 miles) of the plant. Mr. Waltz stated that beyond 2 km, dioxin measurements drop to background levels! Mr. Waltz said it was fortunate for the citizens of Columbus that there is no agriculture within 2 km. The nearest fields used for animal feed are between 2 and 4 km, and even one of those is now being taken over for a housing development. Columbus, Ohio, is really a lucky place! Mr. Pompili then concluded that MSW incineration is a minor contributor of dioxin to the environment and it would be premature to spend $65 million to retrofit the incinerator until all the dioxin sources contributing to the Columbus area had been identified. As director of the Columbus Health Dept., Mr. Pompili cautioned that tax payers’ money must be wisely spent! Waste Not editors think the wisest way to save money would be to ask Mr. Pompili to resign as Director of the Columbus Health Department and to shut down the Columbus trash incinerator forthwith.

For more information: Concerned residents in Columbus have been trying to do everything possible to shut down this incinerator. The above is a taste of the opposition with which they are confronted. For more information contact: Teresa Mills at 614-871-1353; Sherry & Stan Losco at 614-875-9977; Joan Seaman at 614-791-1378; or Rick Sahli at 614-224-4914.

WASTE NOT # 302. 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, New York 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.