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INCINERATOR MAY VIOLATE STANDARD

A toxic waste incinerator under construction in Tooele County will not be able to burn as clean as its permit requires, a chemist told a state board Monday.

Pat Costner, toxics research director for Greenpeace, an international environmental advocacy group, testified before the state Solid and Hazardous Waste Control Board.The board is considering a Sierra Club appeal of a permit issued to USPCI, a subsidiary of Union Pacific Corp., to build a commercial hazardous waste incinerator in Clive, about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City.

The Sierra Club questions the safety of hazardous-waste incinerators and argued that substantial threats to the environment, including threats posed by shipping the toxic materials from other states, were overlooked when the Utah board granted the USPCI permit.

The USPCI incinerator will be capable of burning up to 130,000 tons of hazardous material yearly. Because this is far more than Utah companies generate, USPCI would have to import hazardous materials from other states to stay in business.

USPCI's permit requires it to destroy 99.9999 percent of the toxic materials burned. The requirement is stiffer than the federal standard of 99.99 percent destruction requirement.

But Costner said the 99.9999 percent rate would not be possible with USPCI's incinerator. Of the toxic materials that could be emitted from the incinerator, dioxin is the most dangerous, she said. Dioxin is formed when polychlorinated biphenyls - PCBs - or other combined chemicals are burned.

A USPCI attorney questioned Costner's expertise, and the witness acknowledged that she is a "synthesist" - a person who reads and synthesizes expert and professional data - but not an expert in toxicology, engineering or biology.

The hearing was scheduled to continue through Tuesday.