Its a blue sky day in North Salt Lake today, but things are only getting dirtier and darker at Stericycle.
Excellent job, EnviroNews for scooping that powerful interview.
The Salt Lake Tribune ran an article today discussing the interview and allegations of a former Stericycle employee:
State regulators are investigating a medical waste incinerator after an anonymous former employee charged that it burned so much waste and such toxic materials in recent years that it violated state law.
Stericycle, which operates the North Salt Lake facility, also is looking into the claims after an online video appeared on the website EnviroNews, said Jennifer Koenig, vice president of corporate communications. But the company’s procedures forbid such violations, so it’s unlikely they occured, Koenig said Wednesday.
Residents of the Foxboro subdivision in North Salt Lake and other clean-air advocates hold signs expressing their feelings about Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator during a protest at the state Capitol in September. They wanted the incinerator to be shut down.
A new Utah Department of Health report examines the potential health impacts of the Stericycle medical-waste incinerator in North Salt Lake. While rates of some cancers are elevated in nearby residents, those patterns cannot be tied to any specific environmental exposure, the department said.
The primary incinerator at Stericycle can be seen above a piece of machinery used to sterilize biohazard containers. The medical-waste handler wants to move its controversial incinerator out of a North Salt Lake neighborhood and it has secured remote state land in western Tooele County for that purpose. Activists are denouncing the state’s role in the deal.
Communities for Clean Air staged a news conference Wednesday outside Gov. Gary Herbert’s Capitol Hill suite demanding the governor shut the plant down with an executive order.
No one brought the former employee’s claims to the Department of Environmental Quality to investigate and document, said spokeswoman Donna Kemp Spangler. But she said the department is looking into the allegations anyway.
In a videotaped interview, parts of which are included in a documentary titled “The Devil’s Work,” a man wearing a bandana and sunglasses over his face says he is a former worker at the medical incinerator and alleges that supervisors told him and other employees to forgo measuring the weight and radioactivity of much of the waste coming into the plant, especially types believed to be radioactive.
Not measuring the waste items would violate Stericycle’s state permits.
The company is required to log how much infectious waste it processes and cannot process radioactive waste, according to its permit, Koenig said. However, some materials it burns contain traces of radioactivity, and the facility uses machines to measure those levels.
The former worker claimed employees ignore those rules and a host of others. He declined to be named or interviewed, citing fears for his former co-workers still at Stericycle.
It’s the latest flashpoint for the much-debated incinerator. Advocates at the Capitol Wednesday spoke against the operation and said medical waste should be shredded and sent to the landfill, not burned.
To read the entire article click here.
The interview with the former Stericycle employee can be seen at EnviroNews