The company that operates a medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake City has agreed to pay a record 2.3 million dollar fine. If approved by Utah’s Air Quality Board at their meeting Wednesday, the settlement would resolve allegations that Stericycle’s incinerator violated emissions limits and falsified stack test results. Bryce Bird, Director of the Utah Division of Air Quality, says it’s a strong settlement.
“For the Division of Air Quality, it is a large penalty," Bird says. "If ultimately approved by the Air Quality Board, it will be the largest penalty that we’ve collected, and it is so because of the time frame for these violations.”
Bird says Stericycle failed emissions tests at its North Salt Lake facility over a 13-month period. The company has since installed improved emissions controls and come into compliance.
“These are emissions that are hazardous to health," Bird says. "They contribute to air pollution along the Wasatch Front. The company did not address them fast enough in our consideration, and that’s the reason that we set the penalty at the level that we chose.”
Under the terms of the settlement, Stericycle can avoid paying half of the fine if it relocates its facility to a sparsely populated area of Tooele County. The company would have three years to shut down its North Salt Lake facility once its Tooele County applications are approved.