BRISTOL – The Bristol Covanta Resource Recovery Facility held an online informational meeting Thursday to inform the public about details and its intent to utilize a biomedical waste incinerator.
The company is looking to change its industrial waste permit in Bristol to include biomedical waste processing.
Covanta representatives said biomedical waste would not make up more than 8 percent of the company’s overall processed waste. Also, as per arrangements made with the city, acceptable types of biomedical waste the facility could receive were limited.
Things like red bag waste, examples being gauze, bedding, gowns and dressing, could be disposed of. Also included in acceptable forms of waste are needles, syringes and scalpels; vaccines and biological waste, such as residual vaccines, vials and blood products; pathological waste, such as tissue samples; non-hazardous pharmaceuticals like IV bags, tubing, catheters and residual medications; trace chemotherapy waste like personal protection equipment, curtains and gloves with less than “three percent contamination” could also be disposed of at the proposed Covanta addition.
Biomedical waste to not be allowed at the facility includes anatomical waste such as cadavers and human fetal tissue. EPA hazardous pharmaceutical waste would also not be allowed as well as radioactive materials and bulk chemotherapeutic waste.
“It’s been two and a half years in the making that they first approached the city to tell us that they wanted to convert their permit of industrial waste, which is construction materials and underutilized. They wanted to take that (underutilized portion of business) and fill it with medical waste,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu. “We had a lot of negotiations with them about safety issues and about transporting it through Bristol and quantity. It’s never more than 57 tons per day, which is on the high end.”
The mayor said as part of any potential arrangement, the company would need to pay the city for the waste coming in and for the modification to its existing industrial waste permit. Should the incinerator modification be allowed to be used at the facility, Covanta would pay Bristol $30 per ton of medical waste delivered. The mayor estimated the city would see about $350,000 in revenue a year from such activities.
According to the discussion, potential states that could deliver waste to the proposed incinerator include Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York. However, animal waste, such as the kind seen at veterinary clinics, could be allowed depending on final permit application approval and conversations with Covanta clients. Those clients include facilities such as hospitals and medical wholesalers and distributors.
Covanta representatives said as part of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection procedures, public commenting periods about the project would continue into the future. The final approval of the project has no known deadline, said the representatives, as Connecticut DEEP continues its technical review of the project.