In a few weeks operators of an Ohio hazardous waste incinerator will meet with the EPA to go over concerns of dangerous toxins in the air.
Just one week ago, the EPA released a report saying it’s been going on for four years, but officials with Heritage Thermal Services said no harmful toxins have ever been released.
Heritage Thermal Services has been up and running for over 20 years in a little residential area of East Liverpool next to the Ohio River.
Now, those residents living in that neighborhood are upset after the U.S. EPA released a 20 page report that was self reported by Heritage Thermal Services showing that high levels of toxic chemicals were emitted.
“It’s scary especially when you look, that’s 195 times in four years, so that’s about once a week if you average it out,” said Ohio Valley Organizer for CURE and East Liverpool Resident Amanda Kiger East. “You’re thinking once a week, that’s a puff of something coming down on you.”
However, President John Avdellas said that’s not the case at all. In fact, they monitor every hazardous material from the moment it comes into the facility on a truck, to when the material is treated, to when it’s sent to a hazardous waste landfill.
“We prevent toxins from being released every minute of everyday of operation and when we do not meet those perimeters we automatically have to shut down our system to regain those perimeters to continue to refeed,” said Avdellas.
Up in the control room, operators monitor how much waste they are feeding into the incinerator. If they get close to the U.S. EPA allotted amount, they will shut off the feed so that it doesn’t exceed the limit. Therefore, they said no toxins are ever being released into the air.
Officials said not all malfunctions are due to waste feeds, they can be caused by equipment malfunctions, maintenance or testing.
Heritage Thermal Services will be meeting with the U.S. EPA in June to discuss their findings, to address the EPA’s points and to bring up their own counterpoints to eventually come to a mutual agreement.
There is also a town hall meeting that will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Old East Liverpool School Administration building for residents interested in learning more about these findings.