FACSIMILE FROM ORIGINAL LETTER
website posting December 27, 2005
Hastings-Prince Edward Health Unit
October 21, 2004
Honourable Leona Dombrowsky
Minister of Environment
RE: STELCO/LAFARGE JOINT INCINERATION PROPOSAL
Dear Minister Dombrowsky,
Thank you for your reply of October 6, 2004 to my request for an EA on this proposal.
I met with representatives of Lafarge Cement (Bath) together with Mr. John Tooley of the Belleville MoE office on October 14,2004. 1 have also reviewed the Response Reference Index, Lafarge Canada (of August 20, 2004) with respect to the proposed use of tires, waste oil, waste plastics and other liquid wastes as cement kiln fuel in addition to coal and petroleum coke.
My concern is that should a Certificate of Approval be granted, the Lafarge facility will effectively be allowed to operate as a Hazardous Waste Incinerator without being publicly identified or regulated as such.
In Hastings-Prince Edward we will then have three such facilities affecting our air and water quality. This may have human health implications. A 28 point response to the Proposal is appended.
May I at this time request that your staff (a) update me on plans for monitoring Essroc (Picton) discharges as they begin to burn TDF and (b) provide a status report on Norampac Steam Reformer emissions monitoring.
Board of Health of Hastings and Prince Edwards Counties
A. C. Goddard-Hill, B. Sc, M.D
Acting Medical Officer of Health
cc. Dr. Sheila Basrur , Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario
Dr. Ian Gemmil , Medical Officer of Health, Kingston FLA Public Health
Mr. Glen Hudgin , Director of Inspection, HPECHU
Response to Lafarge application for Certificate of Approval, April 2004
1. Although the proponent claims that "total combustion" occurs in the Cement Kiln process he as the same time allows that incomplete combustion may occur. This is
evidenced by the generation of CO and particulate matter in the process. Therefore the generation of PIC'S, products of incomplete combustion, may occur.
2. Some of these PIC's constitute Toxic and Persistent Toxic Substances as defined under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (Canada and the United States) 1972/1978 (Annex 10, Hazardous pollutants; Annex12, Persistent Toxic Substances; Annex 15, Airborne Toxic Substances) and the Binational Toxic Release Strategy (1 987/1997 for implementation 1997 to 2006), also between the two countries.
3. The repeated recommendation of the International Joint Commission (of the GLQA) in the last six of their twelve Biennial reports including the 12th Biennial Report, 2004, has been for Zero Discharge, or Virtual Elimination, of these Toxic and Persistent Toxic Substances, for reasons related to human health
4. The Health Canada Great Lakes Health Effects Program (1 987 to 1999) produced scientific data to document the effect of toxic chemicals on human health in the Great Lakes Basin.
5. The GLHEP released data in 1999 that compared the health of Ontario residents who live in polluted areas around the Great Lakes (designated as Areas of Concern by the IJC) to residents in the rest of the Province. There were apparently higher rates of disease and death from a variety of causes in the polluted communities although the data lacked further analysis. However, this finding is consistent with observations regarding the relationship between environmental pollutants and human health that have appeared in the medical literature over the
past fifteen years.
6. The Bay of Quinte Region was one such Area of Concern.
7. The Bay of Quinte, 2/3 of Prince Edward County, the City of Belleville, parts of Hastings County and much of Eastern Lake Ontario lie approximately within a 30-mile radius of the Lafarge Plant.
8. There are two other hazardous waste incinerators in the Region : Essroc Cement Kiln on our eastern border, and the Norampac Steam Reformer on the western border.
9. The Lafarge Response, although voluminous, never refers to the recommendations of the GLQA or the Binational Toxic Reduction Strategy for the virtual elimination of Toxic and Persistent Toxic Substances. Neither was the Plant Manager of Lafarge aware of these Agreements. Apparently, the principle of Zero Discharge of PTS' by industry in the Great Lakes Basin which has long been contracted upon by the two federal governments does not inform Lafarge pollution prevention policy.
10. Lafarge continues to release four (4) of the originally listed PTS's, namely mercury, dioxin, hexachlorobenzene and benzopyrene, as well as other toxics, particularly VOC 's and SVOC'S. In addition, there are large releases of the components of smog, and very large releases of C02, all of which have human health impacts.
11. The tires, waste oil, and waste plastic that are to fuel the cement kiln will clearly place it in the category of hazardous waste incinerator although the proponent describes these materials as non hazardous. SBR (styrene-butadiene) synthetic rubber tires are themselves made with toxic chemicals not found in coal or natural rubber.
12. The public Notice of Proposal on the EBR (April 2, 2004) lists three additional applications for permission to burn "liquid industrial waste, such as oils and fuels" and "liquid waste-derived fuel". Thus the proponent is seeking permission to burn liquid hazardous wastes of virtually any kind and which could conceivably include waste organic solvents (e.g. nail varnish, paint stripper, ink stripper, paint solvent waste) as is currently being burned in the Lafarge plant in Westbury, County Wiltshire, England on a 6 month trial basis. That trial includes provision for continuous monitoring at 16 monitoring sites around the facility.
13. The proponent fails to acknowledge that the fuels to be burned are hazardous and repeatedly uses the term "non hazardous" in describing the materials. This is misleading. Their "Response" document, Section 22 (All Fired Up, Burning Hazardous Waste in Cement Kilns) gives the EPA definition of hazardous waste as containing chemicals that are corrosive, ignitable, reactive or toxic. In other words these are materials which when burned could not pass the "marshmallow" test.
14. One paper (from Colton, California) provided by the company suggests that use of alternative fuels in a cement kiln will produce increased emissions of toxics, including VOC'S, SVOC'S, D/F and metals. This has implications for regional human health and will require effective monitoring in order to determine its significance.
15. Lafarge, at our meeting, revealed the use of a questionable method in complying with annual federal NPRI reporting requirements for toxic releases. Apparently, the company measures the amount of at least some Persistent toxic releases (?D/F) once every two years and then interpolates the data for the alternate unmonitored, years.
16. It was further revealed that this toxic emissions test that is done every two years is a two-hour test. Given that the continuous release of toxic substances by the facility has implications for human health it will be important to establish a monitoring program database from which statistically valid conclusions can be drawn irrespective of what type of fuel is being burned. A two hour test done once every two years is unacceptable.
17. Toxic emissions monitoring should be done by an independent contractor. One authority has suggested that 2 week continuous monitoring using standard USEPA techniques should be done quarterly to obtain a valid indication of such emissions.
18. In accordance with the recommendations of the IJC over the past 25 years the Ontario MoE should regulate hazardous waste incinerators toward zero discharge of toxics because of human health concerns. .
19. It is well known that profitable industries, once regulated, will comply if there is appropriate monitoring and enforcement.
20. There is concern in the public domain that this will not happen. For example, the following statement: "This push to 'streamline' environmental protection is not new. The same ideology lies behind the review of Ontario's Environmental Assessment Act and the push for voluntary, co-operative abatement programs at polluting facilities. In each case, the efforts to streamline place a tremendous burden on citizens to prove that their communities are or will be harmed." (Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Oct 18, 2004)
21. The use by the proponent of Risk Assessments done in other communities with similar facilities in order to reassure the public about the lack of health risk associated with hazardous waste incineration is less than reassuring. RA has been used by industry as a licence to make a profit by polluting the environment for three decades now.
22. There are some twenty (20) cement kilns in the Great Lakes Basin according to Lafarge. Neither Community POI dispersion studies for emission plumes that are usually distant from the designated POI nor community risk assessments give a comprehensive picture of the cumulative basin wide impact of emissions from these facilities.
23. Two related issues also need to be addressed. (1) What is the fate of CKD, the dust/particulate matter that is collected at the ESP? Is it fed back into the kiln, or is it disposed of as hazardous waste? (2) Waste Oil seems to be separate issue altogether, as it is used to fire burners in driers apparently separate from the kiln. What are the emissions and are there emission controls on these units?
24. Review of the relevant data raises a question as to whether the levels of allowable chemical discharges to which the MoE currently regulates the industry are adequate for protection of human health. One example is mercury which was released in the amount of 15 kg by Lafarge in 2003. The company states that this release is < 1% of the allowable MoE limit, suggesting that they could release 1500 kg or more without penalty. Another example is VOC's and SVOC'S, of which the carcinogens are mainly comprised. Lafarge released 6.6 T of VOC in 2002 (NPRI website) and 230 T of VOC in 2003 (MoE website), again said to be < 1% of the MoE limit. This suggests that the company could release at least 23,000 T of VOC's without incurring a penalty. Both of these extrapolations seem completely inappropriate for the protection of human health and require some explanation. If these limits are indeed accurate clearly there needs to be a review of MoE air standards for emissions.
25. The increase in reported emissions of VOC's requires explanation. Is Lafarge already burning alternative fuels?
26. NPRI listed total releases to air in Canada of 13,760 tonnes of "CEPA toxic and carcinogenic pollutants" for 2000. Included in the 2003 CEPA Toxic Substances list is 1,3-butadiene, and many other VOC's.
27. There is some pressure on the Province to make a decision about this project. At our meeting with Lafarge, they made it clear that an EA would have financial implications for the company and the community. Furthermore other companies also have an interest: according to the WDO March 2004 document: "Given that there is only one cement kiln in Ontario that is currently approved to use TDF a positive ruling by the MoE in this area will enable others to make the necessary capital investments in anticipation of a Certificate of Approval to use TDF as a supplementary fuel for both stockpile tires and excess annual generation." According to the President of Goodyear Canada, Mr. James Coulter, in answer to a question about tire disposal, he said that "We have been working with experts at the Rubber Association of Canada and with the Ontario MoE in putting a program together which is currently going through the review and approval process." (Globe and Mail, October 14,2004)
28. Despite such pressure, and in conclusion, although the concept of tire disposal in a cement kiln has obvious theoretical and practical appeal, a comprehensive and aware approach needs to be taken in the oversight of chemical discharges into the air and elsewhere from hazardous waste facilities for protection of the public health and safety.