NJ Lawmakers Oppose Hazardous Waste Facility In Pa.

Assembly Resolution 175 denounces Israel-based Elcon Recycling Services plans for an incinerator in Falls Township, Pa., citing environmentalists’ estimates that the facility would annually process 210,000 tons of waste containing mercury, cadmium and lead, and produce more than 39 tons of air emissions containing, among other pollutants, nitrous oxide and ammonia, hydrochloric acid, volatile organic compounds and sulfur oxide.

The New Jersey Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee released the bipartisan bill, which said the planned facility would be situated right across from New Jersey’s Trenton, Hamilton, Bordentown Township and other towns in Mercer and Burlington counties.

“A hazardous waste treatment facility would likely degrade and pollute the surrounding area and waterways which will be detrimental to residents, the environment and wildlife,” the bill said.

The bill’s sponsors are Assemblymen Troy Singleton, D-Palmyra, Herb Conaway Jr., D-Delran, and Joseph Howarth, R-Burlington.

A message seeking comment from Elcon Recycling wasn’t immediately returned.

According to project information on the company's website, the proposed facility would be 22 acres in size and 99 percent free of air contaminants. The process to be used, thermal oxidation technology, isn’t waste incineration, the company says.

The plan marks the company’s second attempt to build a facility in the Pennsylvania town, according to the New Jersey resolution. In 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection denied Elcon Recycling’s request to construct a facility in Falls Township’s Keystone Industrial Port Complex because the business failed to demonstrate compliance with flood hazard regulations.

The plan’s detractors also include the the Pennsylvania League of Woman Voters and the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders, which adopted a similar resolution in July, and environmental groups such as the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and the New Jersey Sierra Club.

The Sierra Club’s statement Monday called the plan for the 70,000-square-foot facility “nothing but a con.”

“It’s a dangerous hazardous waste facility that puts people around the Delaware River at risk. We need to work together to stop this hazardous Elcon proposal no matter which side of the River we live on,” club Director Jeff Tittel said.

According to Elcon Recycling, the facility wouldn’t disturb wetlands, wouldn’t discharge industrial waste into the Delaware River and wouldn’t accept any fracking or radioactive waste streams. The company intends to implement spill measures to avoid water pollution and transport hazardous liquid by truck only, its website says.

Elcon Recycling currently operates a plant in Israel and is pursuing the permitting process for plants in Europe and the United States, each of which would process 150,000 tons of aqueous waste per year, according to its corporate website.

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