12 OCT 07 : After 5 years of voicing concerns, filing a lawsuit blocked by PA DEP in 2003, and bringing in the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to investigate DEP’s permitting of incinerator ash as construction fill, PA DEP announces the 10-year permit for American Ash Recycling will not be renewed!!!
Lower Susquehanna RiverkeeperÂ®, Michael Helfrich, filed over 600 pages of comments and supporting documents, including recent responses from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry that echoed his concerns regarding unknown levels of dioxins, high levels of heavy metals, and improper application of this material that was being buried without any safety precautions or notices to future landowners. Â We also mobilized citizens and state and local government officials who likewise voiced their concerns.
Over 200,000 tons of incinerator ash has already been buried under playgrounds, homes, parking lots, and businesses. In some cases, this material has washed into exceptional value wetlands and tributaries of the Susquehanna. The Lower Susquehanna RiverkeeperÂ® will continue to work with ATSDR to investigate these other sites to determine what further measures must be taken to secure the safety of Pennsylvania’s citizens, communities and waterways.
Congratulations to everyone that submitted comments and helped do the research to put our case together. This is a tremendous victory!!! Thanks for your support, Stewards!
Priority 1 : Some research results from York County Solid Waste Authority’s grantees for “alternative uses of the treated incinerator ash” have come back. So far, it appears that the treated incinerator ash is not good for making ceramics or compressed construction blocks. Add this to the fact that PENNDOT said it was only good for embankments, and you’ve got a pretty useless product so far. Now I’m not saying stop doing research, but I am saying that the current uses and proposed uses have very little value as a “Beneficial Use.” We are now compiling support documents for our comments against the renewal of American Ash Recycling’s Beneficial Use Permit. We will alert you when the comment period opens.
Background : American Ash Recycling treats incinerator ash with phosphoric acid to stabilize some metals. It is then used as construction fill, with no liner or monitoring. Although it passes most federal leaching tests, it has been handled and placed poorly in multiple instances. There is also no real long-term data on the material. Our concern is that heavy metals, including arsenic, will eventually leach into surface and groundwater.
We are currently collecting violation and lawsuit data to submit to object to the renewal of AAR’s permit to use incinerator ash as construction fill. Millions of dollars have been wasted when this material fails as construction fill and must be removed. We have received documentation that PENNDOT refused to approve this material, and had no knowledge that it was being used for construction purposes. We are still reviewing other aspects of their permit.