John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Elcon Toxic Waste Incinerator: Déjà vu All Over Again

Elcon Toxic Waste Incinerator: Déjà vu All Over Again

According to a recent article in The Intelligencer, “for the fourth time in as many years, Elcon Recycling Services is resubmitting application materials in an attempt to build a controversial waste treatment facility in Falls” about 13 miles from Newtown (read “Elcon Reapplies to DEP for Toxic Waste Facility Located Next to Delaware River”).

“Groups such as Bucks POWA [Protect Our Water & Air] and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network say they’re specifically concerned about toxic materials being released to the air and potential drinking water contamination should an accident or flood release chemicals into the nearby Delaware River.”

The site, notes the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, has several wetlands that are hydrologically connected to Biles Creek, a tributary of the Delaware. “Railcars will pass within the 50-foot regulated buffer.  It is, while outside the 100-year floodplain, is clearly within the 500-year floodplain. That sounds like its safe, but it is not. The Delaware River Basin Commission, the City of Philadelphia and other entities focusing on making their communities more resilient due to climate change and sea-level rise are now recommending that critical facilities and infrastructure should not be built within the 500-year floodplain.  The DRBC and City state that ‘critical facilities, such as schools, police departments and fire departments’ should not be constructed within the 500-year floodplain.”

On May, 11, 2016, the Newtown Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution 2016-R-10, opposing the Elcon Toxic Waste incinerator. The Resolution, which can be found at the end of this post, makes several claims.

For example, “the incinerator treatment process will produce over 39 tons of air emissions containing, among other pollutants, nitrous oxide (NOS), ammonia (NH3), hydrochloric acid (HCL), volatile organic compounds (VOC), sulfur oxide (SOX) and total particulate matter” and “studies show that after treatments, the waste will still contain unacceptable levels of Mercury, Cadmium, and Lead.”

No citations of the “studies” mentioned in the Resolution were included in the wording. Perhaps this resolution should be amended to include the evidence for such claims and updated with new information to make it stronger. This, IMHO, would help get the issue before the public again and reaffirm Newtown’s opposition to this incinerator.

UPDATE (10/11/2018):

************RESOLUTION 2016-R-10***************

A Resolution of the Board of Supervisors of Newtown Township in opposition to the Elcon Toxic Waste Incinerator Plant at the Keystone Industrial Park in Falls Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

WHEREAS; Eleon Recycling Services, an Israel based company, is applying to build a hazardous waste incinerator plant in the Keystone Industrial Port Complex in Falls Township, PA, 800 yards from the Delaware River, which is 13.5 miles from Newtown, PA; and

WHEREAS; air pollutants can travel 100 miles. The air quality is adversely affected within a 30 mile radius and can affect people with allergies, asthma, auto-immune disorders, elderly with COPD, and heart conditions; and

WHEREAS; The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has stated that this will be a commercial hazardous waste treatment facility that will treat liquid waste from the chemical and pharmaceutical industries; and

WHEREAS; the plant will process 210,000 tons of raw wastewater per year that will include extremely high levels of Mercury, Cadmium, and Lead; and

WHEREAS; studies show that after treatments, the waste will still contain unacceptable levels of Mercury, Cadmium, and Lead; and

WHEREAS; the incinerator treatment process will produce over 39 tons of air emissions containing, among other pollutants, nitrous oxide (NOS), ammonia (NH3), hydrochloric acid (HCL), volatile organic compounds (VOC), sulfur oxide (SOX) and total particulate matter; and

WHEREAS; Elcon recycling only has plants operating in Israel and has been denied in other countries due to environmental issues created by such treatment plants; and

WHEREAS; Elcon Recycling's Haifa Bay plant in Israel, due to its history of violations of air and groundwater emissions, and its negative impact and pollution to the surrounding environment in Haifa Bay, has been ordered to shut down and relocate to a remote desert location in Israel; and

WHEREAS; Elcon has applied for 596 different kinds of toxins, producing 800 tons of hazardous sludge per year and 5,000 tons of hazardous salts to be trucked in from 10 states: MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, V A, and NC; and

WHEREAS; given the extremely close proximity to the Delaware River and located in a high residential population where over 10,000 children attend school within 4 miles and due to the high possibility of spillage, pollution would affect the Delaware River to the Chesapeake and beyond; and

WHEREAS; the Philadelphia Water Department wrote in their testimony to the Department of Environmental Protection to decline permit to build in this location. The

PWD stated that if a leak or spill were to occur, it would be a Catastrophic Event that would affect millions of people's water supply and would cause the termination of drinking water for an indeterminate amount of time; and

WHEREAS; the Delaware River is a primary source of drinking water and recreation; and

WHEREAS; while the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors realizes the need for proper disposal and treatment of all toxic waste generated, it needs to be done in a safe location with the least impact to human and wildlife populations and the surrounding local supporting eco systems of such; and

WHEREAS, Newtown Township understands the need for intra municipal cooperation across municipal lines as environmental challenges cross municipal lines; existing zoning and land development rules are not always appropriate to solve all environmental challenges such as toxic water and air crossing municipal borders; and

WHEREAS, Elcon will be in violation of the Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act, the Wild and Scenic River Act, the Federal Clean Water Act, and the Delaware River Basin Commission Act (and Regulations) and the Delaware Estuary Toxic Management Program.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Board of Supervisors of Newtown

Township, Bucks County, PA, that it does hereby oppose the construction of this facility and further urges the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Agency and the Falls Township Board of Supervisors to consider the danger of the proposed hazardous "thermal oxidizer" facility at the Keystone Port Complex in Falls Township to Newtown residents and Delaware Valley residents.

RESOLVED and ENACTED this 11th Day of May, 2016.

Posted on 22 May 2018, 01:06 - Category: Environment

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