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Frustrated Neighbors Step up Pressure on Stericycle's Medical Waste Incinerator

Andrea Smardon

Activist groups and North Salt Lake residents are planning another protest of Stericycle, a medical waste incinerator accused of violating pollution limits and falsifying emissions tests.  The event on August 15th is being planned after state regulators gave the company a second extension to decide if it will challenge the allegations against them.

It was May 28th when Stericycle was cited by the Utah Division of Air Quality for violating pollution and record-keeping standards. Between 2011 and 2013, a state investigation found the incinerator had exceeded its permit limits for hazardous air pollutants including dioxin, furan, and nitrogen oxides. Stericycle was given an initial 30-day extension to challenge the allegations until July 26th, at which time they requested and were granted an additional extension until August 30th. The extension has made advocates like Bradley Angel, Executive Director of GreenAction, upset.

“Every day that this continues, this incinerator located literally feet from where little kids live and play is putting some of the most dangerous toxic pollutants known to science into the air, into people’s backyards, into the lungs of little children in the North Salt Lake neighborhood and beyond, and that’s unacceptable,” Angel says.

DAQ Director Bryce Bird says the extension allows the state more time to negotiate penalties and compel the company to impose stricter pollution controls. If Stericyle’s attorneys decide to challenge the citations, Bird says, that will end discussions and start a legal process that could take months or even years. Stericycle demonstrated compliance with emissions limits in April, but has yet to present a plan on how it will prevent future violations.

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 Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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