Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Stericycle May Lose its Permit to Operate Medical Waste Incinerator

stericycle-utah-incinerator-may-2012-05.jpg

The state’s Director of the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) says there is a possibility the agency will revoke the permit of Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake.  DAQ Director Bryce Bird met with concerned members of the community, and health and environmental advocates today (WED). They called on the agency to shut down the incinerator, which they say is an urgent public health threat.

Patty Hincks was near tears at the DAQ meeting, as she thought about the toxic pollutants like dioxin and mercury her grandchildren are being exposed to in their Foxboro home, a few hundred feet behind Stericycle’s incinerator.

“My little granddaughter has grown up there since she was a tiny baby. I’m concerned about the health. I’m concerned what is going to manifest itself in 10, 15, 20 years in these little people, and in my daughter, and everybody who lives there,” Hincks says. “I don’t think we wait. I think we shut it down now.”

DAQ Director Bryce Bird told the group of citizens and advocates that he is very concerned that the company not only exceeded emissions standards for toxic pollutants, but apparently falsified its emissions tests. Bird says the DAQ is doing everything within its regulatory power to bring Stericycle into compliance, but if the company does not show that it can consistently control and report its emissions, the state has the authority to revoke their permit.

“If they come to the point that they can’t verify continual compliance, I think that is an option that will be on the table,” Bird says. But he warns, that takes time. The Division of Air Quality is currently waiting for Stericycle to decide whether it will challenge the state’s allegations. Bird also revealed that the US Department of Justice is conducting a criminal investigation into Stericycle’s alleged manipulation of emissions tests. The DOJ did not return calls to confirm the investigation.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Boston.com. Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.