New Jersey Sierra Club Opposes Trash Incinerator

– by Kelly Nicholaides, January 21, 2016, North Jersey.com

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Photo: Jaimie Julia Winters

A proposal to build a waste energy plant to process 140 tons of household waste daily at the former Arsynco brownfield site on 511 Thirteenth St. is coming under fire from Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, who is recommending that Carlstadt not sign an agreement for the first full scale Hydrothermal Decomposition plant in North America on the site.

However, the Pennsylvania-based Delta Thermo Energy, Inc.’s CEO Robert Van Naarden says Tittel has unrealistic goals and is spreading misinformation.

Additionally, Van Naarden maintains that DTE has the financing for the $50 million necessary to build a plant in Carlstadt, but the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently pulled a waste-management permit issued in 2014 for a planned plant in Allentown. Van Naarden disputes that it was due to financing or land not being acquired, noting that the reason the permit was pulled was because Allentown breached the contract for reasons Van Naarden says he’s unsure of but perhaps related to a grand jury investigation into contract-related misconduct in Allentown. In New Jersey, an NJDEP permit for a plant in Carlstadt can be applied for once an agreement with Carlstadt is signed.

Carlstadt officials requested more information before considering a partnership with DTE to build the plant and process trash with “near-zero pollution,” but Tittel says the volume of waste will increase pollution, as will truck traffic from 14 targeted municipalities.

“The process produces near zero pollution, but with millions of tons processed that still means there’s tons of pollution,” said Tittel. “Even 99.7 percent no pollution brings in .3 percent dioxin and PCBs.”

Although hydrothermal decomposition creates a virtually odorless, pulverized, engineered fuel processed in a 1,875-degree insulated combustion chamber, Tittel sees it as another incinerator and argued that it is not clean energy.

“Whether you call it an incinerator or something else, the results are the same. There will be a lot of pollution, dangerous metals like lead and arsenic and chemicals like mercury, even small amounts of dioxin that will be emitted from this plant. They are trying to repackage the same old garbage,” Tittel said. “An incinerator by any other name is still a polluting health hazard. They say these things are 99 percent clean but even one percent [pollution] is hundreds of tons of toxic pollution in the air. This includes dioxin, arsenic, lead, hydrogen cyanide, and other toxins.”

Elimination or reduction of waste should have the highest priority in a waste management program, not crafting new methods for disposal, Tittel noted.

“In Europe, the waste stream is smaller because they don’t have as much packaging, and they recycle 90 percent more than we do. In Pennsylvania, they have composting and you can have almost zero waste,” Tittel said. “People think sometimes that a high-tech way is the solution, but the best is to reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle.”

Less waste also means lower property taxes for municipalities that pay $60-$100 per ton in New Jersey, Tittel noted.

Van Naarden said that Tittel is spreading misinformation and seeking unachievable goals. “We do not use an incinerator. That is patently false, and the Sierra Club knows better. The Sierra Club’s objective is for there to be zero waste which is nonsense and a completely unachievable objective for the next few generations at minimum,” Van Naarden said. “Hydrothermal decomposition is far more environmentally friendly than anything available today because the process cleans the waste before it is burned. That is the fundamental advantage. When we burn our EPF (Engineered Pulverized Fuel), which is the result of the hydrothermal decomposition process, it is already clean and hence will burn clean, as well as more efficiently. Even our combustion chamber is quite unique but based on a 100-year-old furnace design called a Stoker. The improvements made to this chamber are very significant to control whatever emission could arise such that it is environmentally perfectly safe. We also have added an APC (Air Pollution Control) system on the very end of the process to further control emissions such that what leaves the small stack is nothing but essentially steam.”

If Delta and Carlstadt form a partnership, with one percent owned by Carlstadt, for limited liability, and in order to be a host community, Carlstadt would not pay tipping fees for a period of 35 years, and would also get host fees, officials said. The company would operate on a five-acre clean portion of the 12-acre brownfield site, which housed chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing until 1969.

The 50,000-square foot plant would employ 27 workers and bring in an estimated 140 tons from 14 trucks six days a week. It could service Carlstadt, East Rutherford, Rutherford, Lyndhurst, North Arlington, Hasbrouck Heights, Lodi, Garfield, Hackensack, Saddle Brook, Rochelle Park, Moonachie, Wallington and Wood-Ridge.

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