Good Neighbor Campaigns

Ohio hazardous-waste incinerator, neighbors at odds over pollution issues

Alonzo Spencer, president of the activist group Save Our County, speaks during a recent demonstration at East Liverpool’s City Hall against Heritage Thermal Services’ hazardous-waste incinerator, one of only a few in the country.

Alonzo Spencer, president of the activist group Save Our County, speaks during a recent demonstration at East Liverpool’s City Hall against Heritage Thermal Services’ hazardous-waste incinerator, one of only a few in the country.

EAST LIVERPOOL — “To [Alonzo] Spencer and others who live near the facility, the EPA’s report is another piece of evidence that the incinerator, which they believe should never have been built, is poisoning the people around it.

‘We’ve been chosen for that sacrifice zone,’ Spencer said.

Hazardous waste is a dirty but necessary part of modern life.

We like our smartphones, and having access to medicine, and fertilizer for our lawns and chemicals for our pools. But making those things, and using them, creates waste that contains chemicals too toxic to be buried in regular landfills.

The facilities are tightly regulated but often operate outside the parameters of their permits, a review of U.S. EPA data shows.

The East Liverpool incinerator, for example, has been out of compliance with the federal Clean Air Act since summer 2013, according to the U.S. EPA.

The Ohio EPA has an inspector on-site, but that person isn’t at the facility 24 hours a day, Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler said in an interview last week. And when the Ohio EPA inspector is at the facility, Butler said, the focus is on how Heritage Thermal Services manages hazardous waste, not on whether it is polluting the air.”

— Laura Arenschield, Columbus Dispatch

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