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EPA won’t shut incinerator,
will monitor air instead
Sunday, October 22, 2000
By SUSAN JAFFE
PLAIN DEALER REPORTER
A controversial hazardous waste incinerator in the Ohio Valley should be shut down as a possible health threat, according to a federal environmental ombudsman.
But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is disregarding its investigator’s shutdown recommendation for the Von Roll WTI incinerator in East Liverpool, which opened in 1993 and processes 60,000 tons of chemical waste a year.
The agency will adopt two other proposals the ombudsman made, including ordering a new test next year to determine if the plant can effectively burn and destroy hazardous materials.
Instead of closing the plant, the EPA will assemble a team of national experts to monitor the air around the site, said Timothy Fields of the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. Lead, heavy metals, particulates and other chemical emissions will be tracked.
A spokesman for Vice President Al Gore said the EPA had not ruled out a shutdown. Gore, who became involved in the issue in 1992, supports a shutdown, his spokesman Jim Kennedy said.
WTI spokesman Raymond Wayne said the incinerator was "a clean and safe facility that is the first to meet clean air standards promulgated by the U.S. EPA."
The recommendations come in a report from EPA national ombudsman Robert Martin.
Plain Dealer reporter John Kuehner contributed to this article.
©2000 THE PLAIN DEALER. Used with permission.