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E-M:/ Grand Rapids BFI medical incinerator fails HCL and CO stack tests

Enviro-Mich message from RobC313@aol.com

Grand Rapids BFI medical incinerator fails  both HCL and CO stack tests

In a recent conversation with R. Sadowski at the Grand Rapids MDEQ, It was
confirmed that the BFI medical incinerator in Grand Rapids failed stack tests
for both Hydrogen Chloride and Carbon Monoxide.

This is cause for extreme concern as this facility has never tested for metals
or dioxins. The original permit only required testing for carbon monoxide
(CO), Particulate Matter (PM) and HCL gasses, the assumption being that good
readings on these three toxics are indicators of proper combustion, and
therefor metals and dioxins would not need to be tested. This assumption has
often proved false as many incinerators pass the basic three "indicator" tests
but fail stack tests for other toxics.  In fact,  Michigan's only other
commercial incinerator, located in Hamtramck, had passed stack tests for the
three indicator toxins, but, it wasn't until local activists demanded complete
testing that everybody learned that the mercury emissions were 60 times the
permitted limit.

For the Grand Rapids BFI incinerator to fail two of the three indicator tests
means potentially serious emissions problems. The CO failure is a sign of
incomplete combustion and cause for alarm in itself, while the HCL failure is
due to the high ratio of PVC plastics in the waste being burned. This is
typical of this type of facility and accounts for  medical incineration being
a major source of the dioxins emitted into our communities. Furthermore HCL is
a strong acid gas and extremely corrosive to metal surfaces. As incinerators
are nearly all metal this causes frequent equipment failures that lead to
incomplete combustion and the cycle spirals. It's a matter of record that the
Hamtramck incinerator owners delayed the replacement of expensive components
that had failed prematurely due to the levels of HCL gasses. In doing so they
exposed the community to mixture of toxins that caused the Wayne County field
inspector to call for the shut down of the facility as a health hazard to the

Of further concern with the BFI Grand Rapids incinerator is its location.
Sited directly upwind to the densely populated neighborhoods of  the old
downtown area, one expects that those least able to protect their own
community are the very folks exposed to the highest level of toxics. 

Please, contact your elected officials, the MDEQ, and the BFI Corporation.
Tell them your deeply concerned about the recent failures at the BFI medical
waste incinerator and request (or if its more your style, demand) that stack
tests for dioxins and metals be completed at the Grand Rapids medical waste

For More information on Medical Waste and what you can do to assure a
healthier Grand Rapids community feel free to contact me (Rob Cedar) at HEAT
or Jenny Allen  at the 
West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) at 616-451-3051 or e-mail

IMPORTANT NOTICE-THIS Tuesday WMEAC is hosting Andrea Martin the founder and
executive director of The Breast Cancer Fund to speak about the links between
pollution and breast cancer. As West Michigan has one of the highest rates of
breast cancer in the US, this is a speaker you won't want to miss. Its at the
UICA on Tuesday, February 2 at 7pm.  

Thank you for your interest

Rob Cedar
HEAT- Hamtramck Environmental Action Team
1999 Trowbridge - Hamtramck, MI 48212
(313) 365-4722 or robc313@aol.com

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