North Salt lake medical waste company denies pollutions claims

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 1:47 PM

Antone Clark, Standard-Examiner Correspondent

SALT LAKE CITY — A dispute between a medical waste company and the state’s Department of Air Quality will be turned over to an administrative law judge for review, after the company issued a 12-page denial to allegations it violated provisions of its air quality operating permit.

Officials from Stericycle, Inc., distanced themselves from allegations they have been in violation of the conditions outlined in their state permit, in a response submitted to the DAQ on Sept. 27, after the state gave the company a 30-day deadline.

Utah regulators cited Stericycle for releasing cancer-causing dioxins and other pollutants.

The North Salt Lake City waste incinerating company is forced to either admit or deny the allegations in their response to a Notice of Violation (NOV) issued by the state. The company has chosen to deny the charges.

An ALJ will now review both sides of the case and make a ruling, according to Donna Kemp Spangler, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

“It’s really out of our hands now,” Spangler said of the dispute.

DAQ’s notice of violations claim the company had emission exceedances and failure to include test results demonstrating those overages in its semi-annual monitoring and failure to maintain normal operating conditions during a stack test. The violations identified in the NOV occurred between 2011 and 2013.

In its response, dated Sept. 27, Stericycle officials responded to 14 charges leveled against the company and assert:

• Several of the violations against the company were too vague to the company to put them on notice of the exact nature of the problem.

• Denial that there was any exceedance of the PCDD/PCDF (dioxon/furan) emissions limit in the December 2011 stack test and thus there was an error in the sampling and or lab analysis and the results were not valid.

• The company is protected from liability for an exceedance of the HCL limit during a Jan. 22-24, 2013 stack test under the malfunction defense in the Title V permit.

The company’s response comes even as pressure is mounting at the state and local level to shut the company down.

Neighbors attended a rally Saturday at Foxboro Elementary School, highlighted by environmental activist Erin Brockovich, and are pushing for state and local leaders to take action against the waste company.

The waste incineration company is located within two miles of five separate elementary schools.

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