Utah hospitals send tons of medical waste to Stericycle each year for incineration. But as community activists fight to shut down the North Salt Lake incinerator for alleged emissions violations, at least one hospital group, University of Utah Health Sciences, is rethinking the practice. …
There are 5,735 staffed hospital beds in Utah, according to the Utah Hospital Association — translating to 97 tons of waste per day.
Most of it is conventional garbage — paper, cardboard, food waste — that is either recycled or dumped in landfills. But hospitals also churn out a complicated mix of infectious medical waste that has to be separated and treated, including blood-soaked bandages, used syringes, expired prescription drugs and hazardous chemicals.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 90 percent of this potentially infectious material is sent to incinerators, which emit greenhouse gasses, dioxins and other toxic substances.
But hospitals, recognizing the links between environmental harms and disease, are eyeing newer, greener waste-management technologies.
One option being weighed by the U.: on-site machines to sterilize waste and render it nonhazardous for disposal in lined landfills….
Stericycle given more time to settle pollution violations
Source: Judy Fahys, Salt Lake Tribune August 2, 2013
Stericycle, a medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake, has been granted another 30 days to negotiate its penalties with the Utah Division of Air Quality. The Illinois-based company was cited by state regulators May 28 for violating pollution and record-keeping standards. Its state permits allow the incinerator to burn as much as 2,500 pounds per hour and treat about 7,000 tons of medical waste per year from throughout the West. But a series of lapses led to a state investigation that found the incinerator had released too much nitrogen oxide, which contributes to Utah’s summer- and winter-pollution problems, as well as excessive volumes of dioxins, furans and hydrochloric acid, which are hazardous air pollutants….
Medical incinerator comes under fire from N. Salt Lake community
Source: Judy Fahys, Salt Lake Tribune, June 27, 2013
Neighbors of the primary medical waste incinerator in the West demanded solutions Thursday from a company under state and federal scrutiny for excessive emissions. Representatives of Stericycle Inc. flew in from Illinois to meet with the concerned residents at a town hall meeting. Originally, the residents just wanted to know what was behind the state’s May 28 violation notice, but now many say it’s time for the state to make their community safe and shut down the plant….The Utah Division of Air Quality, which also attended Thursday’s meeting, has accused the company of manipulating emissions tests and pumping excessive pollution into the air, including dioxins and furans, chemicals that disrupt hormones and that have been linked to cancer. State permits allow the incinerator to burn more than a ton an hour and treat about 7,000 tons of medical waste per year….