PO Box 88 ~ Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone (336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email:


December 3, 2009

Louis Zeller (336) 977-0852
Jimmy Bruce (803) 789-4242
Janet Marsh (336) 982-2691


Today at a press conference in Chester, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League released a new report on toxic air pollution impacts from the Covanta incinerator proposed for Chester County. The study shows that poisonous air emissions would be deposited more than six miles away from the facility.

According to the study, toxic levels of arsenic, cadmium and chromium would extend to Richburg and Fort Lawn. All three of these contaminants are carcinogens. Also, dangerous levels of mercury would extend over five miles from the proposed plant site on Highway 9. Excessive hydrochloric acid emissions would go nearly a mile.

Lou Zeller, the League’s Science Director and author of the study, said, “The conclusion is inescapable: the Covanta incinerator would be a health threat too dangerous to be located at the proposed Chester site or, indeed, in any community where people live, work and go to school.” Zeller used a US Environmental Protection Agency air pollution computer model and information provided by Covanta Energy to conduct his analyses.

A second disturbing finding in the League’s report centers on worker safety. OSHA mercury standards for plant employees would be exceeded over most of the 100-acre plant site.

Cosponsoring today’s press conference was Serious Chester County Residents Against Pollution. Jimmy Bruce of Richburg, who chairs the SCCRAP steering committee, said, “I am proud to call Chester County my home. I can not sit idle while my home is transformed into a magnet for any and all undesirable garbage from the surrounding areas, only to be converted into some electricity, toxic ash and air pollution.”

Zeller added, “South Carolina has no protective, health-based toxic air pollution limits. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Chester County Council to protect the health and well-being of their people. After all, that is what zoning is for.”

Bruce concluded, “The council's lack of properly addressing public concerns regarding the potential health impacts and other environmental issues have driven me to urge them to delay the final vote on this project until the public's concerns are properly addressed.”

Organized in 1984, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League is a multi-state non-profit organization whose guiding principles are public health protection, earth stewardship, environmental democracy and social justice. SCCRAP is the League’s newest chapter.


More info: BREDL Covanta page (includes technical report, factsheets)