East Liverpool incinerator, EPA reach agreement

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – Heritage Thermal Services, a commercial hazardous waste incinerator facility in East Liverpool, has agreed to resolve air and hazardous waste violations at its facility, which stemmed from a July 13, 2013, ash release into a nearby neighborhood.

The resolution was announced Tuesday by the Ohio EPA.

Because of a malfunction that forced duct work out of place, approximately 761 pounds of incinerator ash was discharged forcefully enough from the incinerator to deposit the material in a nearby neighborhood outside the facility’s boundaries.

The company hired an environmental contractor to conduct sampling in areas affected with ash deposits to determine the impact of the release. Impacts were determined to be minimal by the Ohio Department of Health and readings were within standards that are considered safe, the Ohio EPA said in a news release.

As required by Ohio EPA, Heritage took measures to prevent future incidents by intensifying screening, adding tighter restrictions on waste, performing more frequent inspections of solids within the secondary combustion chamber to remove and control buildup, redesigning the slag quench system, and cancelling problem waste streams. These measures will need to be added to the facility’s permit requirements.

In addition, Heritage agreed to pay a $34,000 civil penalty. A portion of the penalty, $6,800, will go to Ohio EPA’s Clean Diesel School Bus Fund. This fund helps retrofit school buses with pollution control equipment to reduce particulate emissions from diesel fuel engines to protect students who ride buses.

The remaining $27,200 will be equally split between Ohio EPA’s Environmental Education Fund and the administration of air pollution control programs.

The Ohio EPA focused on this ash incident while the U.S. EPA focused on a more global compliance review so that the agencies would not overlap or duplicate efforts, the release states.

Earlier this month, several groups protested outside Heritage Thermal to express their concerns about the company’s impact on the environment.

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