NORTH SALT LAKE, Utah (ABC4) – After 33 years of pouring a blend of cancerous toxins into the Salt Lake City air, the Stericycle incinerator has finally closed, according to the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE).
Stericycle, a national waste management company, closed its incinerator on June 30 following nine years of town meetings, protest rallies, and meetings with the governor and state officials held by residents of North Salt Lake.
Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator has spewed a mixture of dioxins, furans, PAHs, lead, mercury, and likely radioisotopes and prions over North Salt Lake — more specifically the Foxboro subdivision — a press release states.
Over the past nine years, residents have held town meetings, protest rallies, and meetings with the governor and state officials to close the incinerator.
“Incineration of medical waste was a bad idea right from the beginning. It only served to spread toxins throughout the community and even created new ones. Allowing Stericycle its original permit in 1989 was controversial at the time, but it became dramatically more so in the last 15 years,” said Jonny Vasic, UPHE Executive Director.
According to UPHE, since 1989, subdivisions have been expanding closer and closer to Stericycle to the point where now the backyards of Foxboro homes are right up against the company’s fence line. UPHE says in 2013 repeated bypass events poured thick black smoke from their short smoke stack making their toxic emissions much more visible and alarming to everyone.
Stericycle was fined $2.3 million by the state and $2.6 million by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after state regulators discovered the incinerator allegedly exceeded its emission limits and rigged stack test in violation of its state permit.
In a statement to ABC4 Stericycle said:
“Stericycle proudly remains part of the North Salt Lake Community. While we ceased operation of our Hospital, Medical, and Infectious Waste Incinerator (HMIWI) services on June 30, 2022, we continue to own and operate the site as a collection and transportation facility to service healthcare customers throughout the greater Salt Lake region. This change to our operations has been planned for several years. We look forward to continuing to help the healthcare industry address complex medical waste disposal challenges in a safe and responsible manner across all communities where we operate.”