BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE
PO BOX 44 ~
Saxapahaw, North Carolina 27340 ~ Phone
(336) 525-2003 office ~ Email:
April 6, 2010
Sue Dayton, NC Healthy Communities (336) 525- 2003; (336) 624-2412
Catherine Mitchell, Citizens for a Healthy Environment (704) 545-4817
BMWNC medical waste incinerator is operating on expired permit
League calls on MCAQ to re-issue permit under new, more protective EPA rules
The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League has confirmed that
the BMWNC medical waste in incinerator in Matthews, NC, has been
operating without a valid permit since March of 2009. The
information was submitted to the Mecklenburg County Air Quality
in comments concerning the incinerators application for a
permit renewal. By law, a medical waste incinerator cannot
operate without a valid Title V air quality permit, and an
application for renewal must be submitted to the governing agency
nine months prior to the expiration date. The incinerators
permit renewal application was due June 22, 2008.
BMWNCs operator didnt submit a complete application
to renew its permit until February 16, 2009, nearly 8 months
late. However, MCAQ allowed the incinerator to continue to
operate by issuing an application shield long after its permit
had expired. However, the shield can only be used if a facility
submits a timely and complete application for permit
reissuance, including for renewal (MCAPCO Section 1.5512,
Title V Procedures, (b) Application Shield (1) ).
Sue Dayton, the Leagues NC Healthy Communities Coordinator,
said, Clearly the MCAQ claims the discretionary power to
grant an application shield months after the deadline has passed.
We are calling on them to exercise those same powers to expedite
the protections provided under the new EPA incinerator rules.
Comments sent to MCAQ from the League requested that the MCAQ to
take proactive steps in expediting the new rules promulgated by
the EPA in October of 2009. The early adoption and implementation
of the stricter standards by the EPA would result in more
effective air pollution control and provide additional
protections to residents of Matthews and nearby Stallings.
According to a memo dated January 29, 2010, Mecklenburg County
Attorney Marvin A. Bethune stated that the MCAQ could, in fact,
request special permission from the states Environmental
Management Commission to move forward in adopting and
implementing the new EPA rules.
A group of residents has formed as a League chapter called
Citizens for a Healthy Environment (CHE), dedicated to shutting
down the incinerator.
Catherine Mitchell, a spokesperson for CHE, said: Citizens
for a Healthy Environment was formed by a number of concerned
residents to address the very real health and environmental
dangers connected to this medical-waste incinerator. We believe
it's time that Mecklenburg County paid attention to the health
concerns in the community rather than the needs of the
incinerator, and we intend to work to that end."
The permit information comes at the close of a public comment
period concerning the facilitys application to renew its
Title V permit. The MCAQ may be poised to renew the incinerators
permit under the old EPA rules. This would result in exposing
residents to unsafe levels of mercury, dioxins, furans, hydrogen
chloride and nitrogen oxide above EPA standards. The new EPA
standards, issued in October of 2009, also call for recycling and
segregation of medical waste, additional monitoring, and
regulation of uncontrolled releases of toxic air pollutants
whenever air pollution equipment fails.
The BMWNC medical waste in incinerator has a long history of
troubling violations, and large volumes of uncontrolled releases
of toxic air pollutants that occur when air pollution equipment
fails. In addition to complaints about odors of burning flesh,
metal and plastic, and ash falling onto adjacent properties,
residents are concerned about the high numbers of cancers seen in
To read the comments concerning the BMWNC medical waste
incinerators application for a permit renewal: