Government

EPA Finds No Hazard from Emissions at Incinerator

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – Federal regulators found “no evidence of acute hazard to the community” resulting from emissions the agency says came from the Heritage Thermal Services incinerator here, the city’s health commissioner says.

Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency posted on its website a “finding of violation” stating that Heritage, which operates a hazardous waste incinerator in the city, released toxic chemicals into the air nearly 200 times over a four-year period (READ STORY).

The document posted on the EPA website attributed the emissions to equipment failures and operator errors.

In a letter to members of East Liverpool City Council, Health Commissioner Carol Cowan reported that she and First Ward Councilman Raymond Perorazio met onsite May 27 with representatives of Heritage Thermal, and she met with EPA representative Linda Rosen two days later.

The federal agency said there is “no evidence of acute hazard nor do they believe there is acute hazard to the community associated with the current allegations facing” the company, she wrote in the letter.

“They assured me the facility would be shut down immediately if they believed there was an acute hazard,” she continued.

The company was “open and forthright” in responding to her questions, she said. EPA officials also were “very open and informative” in explaining their procedures and the steps to be taken.

EPA officials will meet with Heritage representatives this month to hear the company’s response to the allegations in a “legally confidential” private session, Cowan reported. Information from the session will become public once the matter is resolved.

EPA officials said they are “very early in the process” and a final plan of action for Heritage to implement likely won’t come before the end of the year, she added. The agency “is in enforcement mode to have Heritage in full compliance with regulations” and will work toward a plan to resolve the violations, and will be monitoring closely and conducting follow-ups, she said.

Agency representatives also will be in touch with the community following their findings.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.