Concerns remain over hazardous waste incineration at Cohoes plant | WNYT.com

Concerns remain over hazardous waste incineration at Cohoes plant

Emily Burkhard
Updated: December 09, 2020 11:35 PM
Created: December 09, 2020 07:21 PM

COHOES - Officials from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation addressed ongoing concerns about the Norlite plant in Cohoes on Wednesday.

This comes just a few weeks after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a state law that outlaws burning AFFF, that's the toxic firefight foam we've been telling you about all year.

Though that's good news, Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler said residents still have more concerns about burning hazardous waste in general.

Officials discussed the results of a comprehensive performance test, which was conducted by a third party but overseen by DEC.

The test was required after Norlite made multimillion dollar upgrades to their pollution control equipment.

They addressed complaints made by nearby residents about odors coming from the stack.

"Odors were not observed offsite that we could relate directly to Norlite,” DEC Regional Air Pollution Control Engineer Ben Potter said. “So we have been to several odor complaints and we will continue to go to those until we can actually relate it to something, if it's related to Norlite."

They also showed pictures of the filters used in the stack for the test.

“This is just how I am demonstrating that what's coming out of the stack,” Potter said. “There's no black, there's no gray. The filter is still white."

Other residents were concerned with vibrations caused shale mining on site.

"So in this example all of the ground vibrations were under the z curve and were in compliance with the permit,” DEC Mines Land Reclamation Specialist Psalm Wyckoff said.

There were also concerns about dust coming from the mining operations, but DEC officials said they haven't found any issues with that yet either.

"Definitely the pressure could be an issue when I was there, every time I've been there it hasn't been an issue so it's something we are looking into,” Potter said.

Some residents questioned why DEC was moving forward with a re-permitting process when Norlite has a history of violating permits.
 

DEC Spokesman Sean Mahar said they're doing what they can to address concerns raised by everyone involved. That's why the agency values public input in this process.

"So we obviously continue to look forward to working with you and the community members and giving you a voice and role in the permit process obviously and taking your considerations into the mix,” he said.

No one from Norlite was present on the call Wednesday night. DEC has posted information about Norlite on their website.


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