(EnviroNews Utah) – With the North Salt Lake and Foxboro communities up in arms regarding compliance issues for Stericycle medical incinerator, protestors gathered outside the hazardous waste plant with a unified message of immediate and total shut down of the controversial business.
Stericycle had been busted earlier this year for compliance issues and was issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) by the Utah Department of Air Quality (DAQ) in what the media and many others have deemed a “fudging of the numbers” and a “cooking of the books”.
Bradley Angel is the executive director of San Francisco-based GreenAction and has been fighting against Stericycle’s dangerous waste incineration plants for years. Angel and GreenAction were able to mobilize a community in tandem with tribal leaders on the Gila River Indian Reservation that successfully shut down a similar Stericycle hazardous medical waste facility in Arizona nearly a decade ago.
According to Angel and other corroborating documents discovered by EnviroNews Utah, when the plant was being built nothing was supposed to be built within a square mile of the facility. Angel says that nobody in Foxboro knew what was coming out of the smokestack, and when someone asked, that person was told steam.
“Yes, there is steam, but there are other particulates that can actually make people sick or worse.”
Angel responded to a question about prions with this:
“Bringing animals infected with that [prion-caused] disease into a residential neighborhood with lots of young kids is outrageous.”
The company has had bypass issues for many years according to Angel. It is used for startup and shutdown and vents “unfiltered toxic waste that’s burned but not screened for pollutants.”
When Angel confronted executives with the black smoke coming out of the bypass stack, they denied that there was any black smoke coming out. He took them outside and showed them the black smoke, at which time they immediately went into their office, got their keys and drove away. “And that was our tour!”, added Angel.
Five years ago when Stericycle was up for repermitting, the state assured citizens that the plant was safe, but despite this, Angel does have potentially good news for Foxboro. A Stericycle plant in Arizona on tribal land was shut down due to an alliance between GreenAction, local tribal members, and others.
Another incinerator was shut down in California when hospitals decided to stop sending waste to it in the face of huge protests and learning of the violations of that incinerator. Unfortunately, according to Angel, some of that waste is now going to North Salt Lake after Stericycle bought the client lists.
“The next permit has to be denied,” said Angel when he spoke about the next steps in getting Stericycle shut down.
“Kids are being poisoned. We can’t let that continue.”
FILM AND ARTICLE CREDITS
- Emerson Urry - Videojournalist, Interviewer, Author, Video Editor, Sound Editor, 3D Animator