The Davis County burn plant has not endangered the health of anyone in the area, despite its periodic air quality violations, an official says.
Rich Harvey, director of environmental health for Davis County, addressed members of the Davis Energy Board and about a dozen Layton residents Wednesday at the first meeting at the burn plant since the Davis County Energy Recovery District took over the plant last month from the former operator, Katy-Seghers.During an unscheduled question and answer session, Robert W. Arbuckle, district board chairman, heard from concerned residents who live less than 600 yards southwest of the burn plant.
Harvey said any possible health impact from the burn plant would more likely impact people miles away from the plant, rather than those right next door.
He stressed past violations at the plant resulted from particulates, carbon monoxide emissions and of not using the lime injectors - all of which posed no significant health problems to anyone in the county.
Regarding the proposed medical waste incinerator at the burn plant, Harvey said Davis County has some of the most advanced regulations in the country dealing with such facilities. He said there are currently no federal or state regulations to govern them.
Harvey explained bacteria cannot survive the burn plant's high operating temperatures but a different garbage handling system would be needed to deal with medical waste. He also said medical waste facilities have remote radioactive sensing devices.
"Our intent is not to shut this plant down," said Mike Rawson, a resident who lives near the burn plant, explaining he believes burn plants are environmentally better than landfills. "We have a fear of this medical waste facility," he said, because of the operating violations the burn plant has received in the past.
Suzie Radtke, another resident, expressed similar concerns, including one about the effect air inversions in the valley have on the safe operating limits of the burn plant.
Other residents expressed concern about long-term health effects from the burn plant and also a desire for the facility to have more pollution-control devices.
"We live in the same county, too," H. Kay Chandler, a board member from Clearfield, said.
Chandler had said earlier in the meeting that nobody wants a burn plant or medical waste facility in their back yard or even in their county.
Other members of the board indicated that because of the previous operators they hadn't even received an opportunity to tour the burn plant, but promised the residents they would make sure the plant operates effectively in the future.
The board said the previous operators put little money back into the plant's operation, especially in the area of repairs. Board leaders have developed a list of 125 things that could be done to make the plant operate more effectively.
Some residents left the meeting feeling that a public hearing on the medical waste facility still needs to be held.