[NEWS] Covanta Incinerator Exceeds Dioxin Limits
– by Stefanie Swinson, May 26, 2016, Durham Region
Covanta has failed another stack test at the incinerator it operates in Courtice.
The joint committee of the Region of Durham heard results today from Mirka Januszkiewicz, the director of waste management, regarding the Durham York Energy Centre’s most recent tests conducted between May 2-11.
The lab results show air emissions from boiler 1 exceeded limits of dioxins and furans.
The limit is a maximum of 60. Boiler 1 was tested at 818.
“That’s a shocking number to hear,” said Regional and Clarington Councillor Joe Neal during the joint committee meeting. “This is very concerning. I thought it might be 80.”
Dr. Robert Kyle said these results do not currently pose a risk to public health.
The source test measures the emissions from more than 200 parameters including combustion gases, particulate matter, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, metals, chlorobenzenes, chlorophenols, volatile organics and dioxins and furans.
Read a statement from Covanta below.
Ms. Januszkiewicz said Covanta is questioning the test results and “believe a mistake was made at the lab.” She went on to add that she has every confidence that the test results done at the laboratory in Mississauga are correct.
Covanta has apparently requested that it conduct its own testing at a lab in North Carolina.
Regional Chair Roger Anderson said he will not allow that to happen.
“This is a regional-owned facility,” he said. “An Ontario company will test for Covanta.”
Ms. Januszkiewicz said the minister of the environment will be informed immediately and a request will be made to Covanta that the boiler be shut down until Covanta does a root cause analysis. Another stack test will need to be performed and passed before the boiler goes back online again.
Waste will still be processed at the facility during that time but only boiler 2 will be operational. It passed the most recent test with a result of 12.
Both boilers exceeded limits in the first stack testing performed in September and October 2015.
“This is like a second ‘oops’ for Covanta,” said Regional Councillor and Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster. “There’s some confidence that needs to be rebuilt.”
The latest testing was conducted at the request of Durham Region council.