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View Diary: I have a dream that a clean and safe planet will be a civil right (41 comments)

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  •  Case in point: Detroit Incinerator (20+ / 0-)

    It was a bad idea when first proposed, and it has only gotten worse:

    As the largest incinerator in the world, it has to burn for other towns and for private haulers to keep it going near its design capacity. During the last several years, private haulers were charged as little as $13 per ton, while Detroit residents have been charged $150 per ton or more. Since the City needs the trash to keep it burning, its continued use is a disincentive to recycling. On July 1, 2009, Detroit implemented a pilot curbside recycling program for about 10 percent of households, but it could easily be abandoned if the City continues to use the incinerator, leaving Detroit as the only major city in the U.S. with no curbside recycling. “If we don't renew the contract with the incinerator operator and instead use a landfill, we’d have the flexibility to start and rapidly expand recycling. We’d save on tonnage, and residents could be paid for recycling.”
    Detroit Waste Incinerator: Dirty and Expensive

    My particular beef is this: Michigan's high profile environmentalists are pouring a great deal of energy into stopping wolf hunting. A worthy objective, but there are two efforts aimed at putting a permanent wolf ban in the state constitution. You can probably guess how much energy is being devoted to shutting down the Incinerator.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:35:43 AM PDT

    •  i hear you. meanwhile incinerator is polluting (16+ / 0-)

      area for miles around making local residents sick.  the same situation exists in St. Petersburg, Fl which has a large incinerator and NO curbside recycling.  Residents of area think only hope is to elect progressive mayor, who advocates for curbside recycling..election is in Nov...fingers crossed.

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:45:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Detroit Incinerator had much higher (5+ / 0-)

      airborne toxicant emissions when it was first built than it does now.

      When that incinerator was first constructed it only had particulate emission controls in the form of a large  electrostatic precipitator and no controls at all on gaseous pollutants, such as hydrogen chloride.   The facility had high mercury emissions from batteries and other mercury wastes in trash.

      The entire emission control system for that facility was radically modified as a result of a sustained public protest, including a meeting of the Michigan Air Pollution Control Commission attended by over a thousand people.  Eventually, the Detroit Incinerator was retrofitted with fabric filter and spray dryer controls and measures to address mercury emissions.   This led to a dramatic reduction in emissions of chlorinated dibenzo dioxins/furans, mercury, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and hydrogen chloride emissions from the Detroit Incinerator.

      •  Here is information from EPA's Enforcement (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Urban Owl, LinSea, Eric Nelson, ladybug53

        and Compliance Online system concerning the Detroit Incinerator:

        The report indicates that the incinerator has 7 letters of violation since 2010 under state enforcement.   However EPA indicates the facility is not a significant CAA violator presently, so you need to actually inquire about the nature of the notices/letters of violation to see how serious MDEQ allegations were.

      •  Air permit for the Detroit Incinerator (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Urban Owl, LinSea, ladybug53

        Here is the Title V operating permit for the Detroit Incinerator, issued in 2011:

        Here is the Michigan DEQ statement of basis on the issuance of the permit for the Detroit Incinerator:

        Note the emission inventory information in the statement of basis.

        •  Thanks for all the facts! N/t (4+ / 0-)

          We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

          by Urban Owl on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 01:09:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I first started working on the matter of the (5+ / 0-)

            Detroit Incinerator in 1984 when it was first permitted and constructed.   I had challenged Randy Telesz, an MDEQ Air Quality Division permit engineer, with the question of why a dry scrubber-fabric filter control system should not be considered as the required Best Available Control Technology for the Detroit Incinerator.  

            At the time of the 1984 permit issuance, Telesz and everyone else tracking the issue in Michigan were under the impression that no other municipal waste incinerator in the United States had tried fabric filter-spray dryer emission controls (that combination is commonly known as a 'dry scrubber' and frequently used for SO2 control on western low sulfur coal.

            However, by 1986 we all found out that Combustion Engineering (CE), the contractor for the Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority, had permitted and was constructing a fabric filter-spray dryer-controlled municipal waste incinerator in Hartford, CT.   So at the same time CE was saying BACT was an emission limitation met using fabric filter/spray dryer emission control technology in CT, they were telling Mayor Coleman Young and the Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority that a 5 field electrostatic precipitator with no gaseous pollutant controls was going to be BACT in Detroit.

            As for the Detroit Incinerator itself----Mayor Coleman Young was its strongest proponent so you can ascribe blame for the Detroit Incinerator itself and its emissions to Coleman Young's stewardship of the City of Detroit and his responsiveness to his constituents at the time.

            Finally, just for the record, all of my involvements on the Detroit Incinerator were either on behalf of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter or for the American Lung Association of Michigan.

      •  Air quality is only one... (4+ / 0-)

        ...facet of the overall negative impact of the Incinerator. I stipulate that the air emissions are now far less toxic, but the "economic environment" that drives the operation of the Incinerator is as, if not more, toxic to the Detroit Metro area.

        One of the more egregious impacts is that in the drive to keep the Incinerator "at capacity" all organic waste is fed into the facility instead of composted. The city is obligated to "feed" the facility to maintain "design capacity" (now operated by an entity with the dubious nameplate "Detroit Renewable Power" because it does generate some amount of electricity) to the detriment of better options for waste management.

        When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 01:30:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Literally adding fuel to the fire (0+ / 0-)

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 12:21:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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