Universal Purifying Technology, Columbus

Feb 16:  Power plant smokestacks gladly sent tumbling

Officials, activists happy to see large portion of ill-fated facility blown off South Side landscape

COLUMBUS -- "Thereís nothing like a government leader with his finger on the button. 'It's a good way to start a day, to blow something up,' Mayor Michael B. Coleman said minutes before pushing the button that toppled the three smokestacks of the cityís trash-burning power plant. Teresa Mills' reaction was quite different. Watching from the Dyer Road bridge over I-71, she watched the first stack go over and her knees buckled, someone catching her before she fell to the bridge surface. 'I cried like a baby,' said Mills, a Grove City resident and environmentalist who battled to shut down the plant. 'I didnít expect that at all. I realized Iíll never have to fight that building again.'. . . 'Taking these down is a step up for the city,' Coleman said, calling the plant a 'dark cloud' over the South Side that cost city taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and created environmental problems," Mark Ferenchik, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.
Feb 15:  Smokestacks of ill-fated power plant to be demolished

COLUMBUS -- "One by one, three towering smokestacks that for decades stood as monuments to government ineptitude and waste will tumble to the earth this morning. For better or worse, the stacks of Columbus’ trash-burning power plant have loomed over the South Side as landmarks for travelers heading north toward town on I-71. For nearby residents such as Robert Wilson, it means more than just cool explosions. 'It finally says the people have won, that this is the end of an era,' said Wilson, who helped organize Southwest Neighbors Protecting Our Environment. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t have any concerns about the demolition releasing toxins into the air, said Craig Butler, chief of the agency’s central district office. But Teresa Mills, director of the Buckeye Environmental Network, remains concerned. Mills remembers more than a decade ago when a neighbor saw a yellow cloud hanging over her Grove City neighborhood. Her organization tracked it to the power plant. They learned about cancer-causing dioxins. She remains concerned about the dioxins that could remain in the soil," Mark Ferenchik, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.

COLUMBUS -- Pictures of the implosion, Ohio News Network.
Sep 8, 2004:  Bidding opens to raze plant
Council wants competitive contract for work at former trash-burning site

COLUMBUS -- "Plans to give a S.G. Loewendick & Sons a $1.25 million unbid contract to demolish the cityís trash-burning plant on the South Side have been scrapped by the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio. 'We got indication from City Hall that unless it was put out to bid that it was not going to get to City Council and get approval,' said John Remy, SWACO spokesman. 'So, thatís what weíre going to do,'" Suzanne Hoholik, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.
Aug 26, 2004:  Unbid deal to raze plant gets some heat

COLUMBUS -- "Location, location, location. That's a big reason S.G. Loewendick & Sons stands to receive a $1.25 million unbid contract from the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio board to tear down the trash-burning power plant on the South Side. The deal still would need the approval of the City Council, which meets Sept. 13. Councilwoman Maryellen O'Shaughnessy was surprised SWACO didn't bid out the job or even call other contractors for prices. Catherine Turcer, of the government watchdog group Ohio Citizen Action, said SWACO board members aren't being "good stewards of public money.'' "It just seems really crazy to me,'' she said. "If it's your money, you watch it very carefully. You'd expect them to know better. When it comes to saving money, most of us don't believe the first deal is the best deal,'' Turcer said. 'We look for options, and I think we expect our government to do the same thing,'" Suzanne Hoholik, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.

Aug 25, 2004:
  Raze plant, group urges
Waste authority suggests demolition of trash-burner

Wrecking ballCOLUMBUS -- "Teresa Mills of Buckeye Environmental Network was pleased at the news. 'Itís just something that makes the people on the South Side of Columbus remember what they went through in dealing with the plant,' the Grove City resident said. 'With the stack and the buildings gone, they can never use it again.' But Robert Wilson, who lives a mile from the plant, is certain [the Waste Authority] will put 'things that will kill us' on the property. 'Theyíve been in that habit of being interested in those things,' he said. 'We still have people out in this area that are sick from the trash-burning power plant.' . . . . [Waste Authority] board member Steve Shepard suggested selling tickets for the demolition. Mills wants a front-row seat. 'I want to be there to set off the detonator,' she said. 'Let me push the button,'" Suzanne Hoholik," Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.
Jan 18, 2004:  Anatomy of a victory:
Citizens stop siting of tire-melting plant

CheckmateCOLUMBUS -- "When we learned in September 2004 that the Ohio EPA and local authorities apparently intended to site this facility under the radar screen, with virtually no public comment, we immediately began working with Buckeye Environmental Network and the neighbors on the South Side who had helped close the dangerous trash-burning plant a decade ago. We reached out to residents and helped organize a community group, which called itself Southwest Neighbors Protecting Our Environment, was formed. Members of the group divided up into committees to tackle important tasks such as church outreach, member relations, and media, and shared their progress at weekly meetings. . . We pressed every agency whose approval was essential for the tire-melting project to go forward. These included the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, and the Columbus City Council. We needed only one agency to reject the plan while the tire-melting proponents needed approval from all of them," Simona Vaclavikova, Columbus Area Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
Jan 9, 2004: Not the right plan
Tire-melting proposal for South Side plant failed to pass muster

COLUMBUS -- "Jeff Troth, the entrepreneur who formed Universal Purifying Technology to launch the business, said the board bowed to public pressure and 'allowed ignorance to sway their votes.' Hardly. The board simply listened to the persuasive arguments of local health authorities, who pointed out the plantís potential health and environmental effects and urged further study before allowing operation. . . The company has said it will take its plan to other Ohio communities that have expressed an interest. The people in these areas certainly will want to have those questions answered, too," editorial, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.

COLUMBUS -- Southwest Neighbors Protecting Our Environment defeat the tire pyrolysis, Larry Fairbanks, Columbus Free Press.
Jan 7, 2004: Board rejects tire-melting proposal as too risky

South Side neighbor Joy Himes-Barsic testifies at a packed Nov 6 Ohio EPA public hearing (Photo by Larry Fairbanks).
Joy Himes-Barsic
COLUMBUS -- To the cheers of South Side neighbors, a regional government board backed out of a plan yesterday to convert the cityís idle trash-burning power plant into a tire-melting operation. . . . Neighborhood opposition, recent health-department concerns and a skeptical consultantís report about the technology swayed the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio. . . The audience applauded and cheered the unanimous vote. [Jeff Troth, who formed Universal Purifying Technology to launch the operation] plans to go forward elsewhere. "Other communities in Ohio have already contacted me and want me to bring the technology to them," he said, declining to name them. Willow View Drive resident Joy Himes-Barsic, though thrilled to see the proposal chased out of her side of town, doesnít want the plant anywhere in the state. 'Wherever you go in Ohio, we will find you,' she told Troth," Geoff Dutton, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.
  • Sound clips from neighbor Juanita Kauffman and Ohio Citizen Action's Simona Vaclavikova.
Jan 6, 2004: Neighbors big win: Tire-melting project defeated

COLUMBUS -- "I am very happy to announce that we have won our tire-melting campaign today. The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio just voted and unanimously turned down the tire-melting proposal for Columbus. Thank you all who participated and supported us throughout this campaign. WE DID IT!" Simona Vaclavikova, Columbus Area Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

COLUMBUS -- Vote decides fate of tire-burning plant, WBNS TV-10 News.

COLUMBUS -- Consultant faults tire-melting plan. "It appears no detailed engineering process design or control has been developed to-date for the Universal Process Technology proposed plant in Columbus. When asked for process control and design details that the Korean and Taiwanese plants were developed against, [Dana Finley, Titan Technologies, Albuquerque, NM] said each plant design is tailored to the individual plant. He does not have this information because the customers had provided their own engineering using the general Titan process flow diagram," 'Proposed tire pyrolysis plant review,' Calderon-Grant, Inc., dated Dec 24, 2003 (.doc).
Jan 5, 2004: Solid Waste Authority to take up tire-melting proposal at Tuesday meeting

COLUMBUS -- The proposed resolution, to be considered at a in part, "WHEREAS, it has been proposed that SWACO enter into a sub-lease agreement with Universal Purifying Technologies for the development of a scrap tire processing facility; and WHEREAS, after considerable research and due diligence conducted in the absence of a suitable operating reference facility, the SWACO staff has been unable to compile sufficient information to conclude that the proposed UPT plant will be viable and sustainable in managing scrap tires in a reliable, safe, cost-effective and environmentally sound manner," prelimminary agenda, resolutions, Board of Trustees meeting, Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (pdf).

The public meeting will be Tuesday, January 6, 2 PM, at the Solid Waste Authority Administrative Office Building, 4239 London-Groveport Road, Grove City, Ohio 43123.

GROVE CITY -- Letter. "If deemed a danger to either the environment or people, who would be responsible to clean up the contaminated area . . . the State, Federal or Local government? Or will Universal Purifying Technology reserve several million dollars each year to fix and remedy any damage done? Please present to me, and others that are interested, the emission datra that tested for dioxin to prove the claim that these would not be present," Larry and Jill Topp, to Mike Long, Director, Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, dated Dec 22, 2003.
Jan 2, 2004: Health officials against proposed plant
Pollution danger from melting of tires needs to be determined, agency says

COLUMBUS -- "The Franklin County Health Department opposes the facility, and the Columbus Health Department is urging more study by the EPA, saying not enough is known to assess the plantís potential health risks. . .The city-owned site is managed by the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, a regional landfill consortium. County Commissioner Dewey Stokes, a SWACO board member, said this week that he will recommend at a Tuesday meeting that SWACO sever ties with Universal Purifying Technology. He said the company hasnít demonstrated the tire-melting process or shared engineering analyses, as promised. 'Thereís no proof in the pudding, so to speak,' he said," Geoff Dutton, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.

COLUMBUS -- Stokes announces opposition to Universal Process Technology proposal, Office of Franklin County Commissioner Dewey Stokes.

COLUMBUS -- Environmental concerns may doom trash plant deal, Tony Goins, Business First.
Dec 16, 2003: Columbus officials swamped by 3,878 letters opposing tire-melting scheme

Former trash-burning plant

COLUMBUS -- As of December 13, 3,878 Columbus-area neighbors have sent handwritten letters, emails and petitions to Mike Long, Director, Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, and Columbus City Council, opposing the proposed tire-melting project at the old Columbus trash-burning power plant site. Here's one: "If this proposal to allow Universal Purifying Technology to move into this state -- anywhere -- is allowed to go forward, I don't know how you will be able to sleep at night or look in the mirror. The Ohio EPA is a joke," Noreen Young letter to Michael Long, Director, Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio.
Nov 25, 2003:  Columbus Health Department letter

COLUMBUS -- "It will be the lack of information and absence of comparable models that will continue to obscure the assessment of any potentil impacts presented by this process. It is our current position that to directly address any public health concerns regarding this process more specific data is required," Teresa Long, Health Commissioner, Columbus Health Department, letter to Isaac Robinson, Ohio EPA.
Nov 20, 2003:  Neighbors technical comments to Ohio EPA on draft tire-melting permit

COLUMBUS -- "Even without oxygen, PCB's are likely to be formed in this system. In these circumstances, dioxin formation is likely to occur in the same general area that has previously had the highest recorded dioxin readings ever from the previous trash burning operation. Accordingly, there is a clear likelihood of additional dioxin poisoning in an already dioxin poisoned environment," Southwest Neighbors Protecting Our Environment, Buckeye Environmental Network, Ohio Citizen Action.
Nov 6, 2003:  Ohio EPA hearing on proposed Columbus tire-melting plant

Ohio EPA hearing

COLUMBUS -- "On November 6, the Ohio EPA held a public hearing on the tire-melting project proposed for the facility once used as the trash-burning power plant on Columbus' south side. Plant neighbors commented on the draft permit for the tire-melting facility, and overwhelmingly opposed the issuance of the final permit for this facility," Simona Vaclavikova, Ohio Citizen Action.

Oct 22, 2003: Tire-burning plant: Officials minimize health threat
Many South Siders at forum not buying comments by Ohio EPA

COLUMBUS -- "Toxic emissions would be 'unlikely or very low' if a proposed tire-melting process were approved for the cityís idle trash-burning plant, Ohio EPA officials said last night. That uncertainty angered and frustrated the 100 people who attended the Environmental Protection Agencyís forum at Franklin Woods Intermediate School. Many of them live near the South Side facility and fought to close it 10 years ago because of health concerns," Matthew Marx, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.

COLUMBUS -- Columbus Channel 10 TV coverage, click on the link "Neighbors object to South Side tire processing plant."
Oct 21, 2003: Ohio EPA holds public meeting tonight on proposed tire-melting project

COLUMBUS -- The Ohio EPA will hold an informational meeting at 6:30 PM tonight at Franklin Woods Intermediate School, 1831 Finland Avenue, off Frank Road in Columbus. Southwest Neighbors Protecting Our Environment and environmental groups will have questions for the Ohio EPA officials about the draft permit issued to the tire-melting facility in June this year. "What's the promise to the community? Eight million tires a year melted in the neighborhood, thousands of tires stored on site, increased truck traffic, accumulation of hazardous waste and by-products, and increased air pollution. And you can bet it will stink," statement, Simona Vaclavikova, Columbus Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

COLUMBUS -- Statement on proposed tire-melting plant, Marti Sinclair, Toxics Chair, Ohio Sierra Club (34 KB .doc).
Oct 17, 2003:   Residents fight tire burning plant

COLUMBUS -- "The owners that want to turn the south Columbus factory into a tire-melting plant, heard much criticism from nearby residents Thursday night. The plant on Frank Rd. was once a trash burning operation. It opened in 1983, burning trash to generate electricity. But it was identified as the nation's largest producer of dioxin, an agent that could cause cancer. Complaints helped close the plant in 1994 and the debt it created for the city won't be paid off until the year 2017. Now, a California company wants to operate there to liquefy tires," WBNS-10TV News.
Oct 7, 2003: Your Columbus staff

Columbus staff

COLUMBUS -- These cheerful people are the Columbus staff for nearly 30,000 Ohio Citizen Action members in Columbus and central Ohio. They are currently working to block a plan by Universal Purifying Technology, a little-known California company, to melt tires at the former Columbus trash-burning power plant on Jackson Pike. In the front are Morgan Leimbach, Canvass Director Trish Lanahan, Kristin Kegelmyer, Amelia Stewart, Maggie Priebe, Kelly Reed, and Assistant Program Director Kathy Remias. In back, Steve Kowalski, Craig Wilson, Program Director Simona Vaclavikova, Legislative Director Catherine Turcer, Sean Suisson, Mary Eberle, and Scott Ingraham. Not pictured are Office Manager Becky Rhodes and Research Database Manager Brandi Whetstone," Ohio Citizen Action. Larger photo (112 KB).
Sep 29, 2003: Residents object to tire melting at plant

COLUMBUS -- "Joy Himes-Barsic who lives within sight of the old trash-burning power plant near Frank Road in the south end of Columbus, has been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructed Pulmonary Disorder. "I don't know how I got this," the 47-year-old woman said of the diagnosis given her this past May. But one thing she knows is that she doesn't want the trash-burning power plant, closed 10 years ago, to reopen -- this time as a tire-melting plant," Sandy Latimer, Southwest Messenger.
Sep 18, 2003:  South Side trash plant
Neighbors against tire-melting plan

COLUMBUS -- "'We fought the trash-burning plant. I don't know why they thought we'd want tires burning in there, or melting, or whatever,' said Joy Himes-Barsic, a Grove City resident who lives within sight of the smokestacks. Neighbors began calling each other this week and are circulating a handout that reads 'Guess who wants to be your new neighbor!' Theyíve called a meeting for 7 tonight at Finland Middle School, 1825 Finland Ave., to plot strategies for derailing final approval by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency," Geoff Dutton, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.

COLUMBUS -- Tire-melting plant creates controversy in south Columbus, WBNS TV-10
Images from the newscast.