Incinerator meeting draws public outcry

Image by flickr user GeneC55Image by 20080625incinerator.jpg Not Charleston's incinerator, but the facilities help reduce the volume of waste buried and provide a cheap source of energy, but often are a strong source of pollution, and awful smells.

On Wednesday meeting attendees decried the prospect of another 20 years of trash burning meeting held about Charleston County's trash incinerator.

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The 18-year old facility was criticized by area residents for spoiling the air, irritating lungs and eyes, causing traffic and being plain unpleasant. And many attendees said plans to improve condition weren't enough. The incinerator's operator suggested adding a $10 million "bag house" vacuum to decrease mercury emissions by 70 percent, to about 38.7 pounds, and cut particulate emissions in half. But to get the upgrade, the county would have to agree to a 20-year commitment.

Here's a video by the Coastal Conservation League of some comments made:

The group also provides an easy way to give feedback to the county.

Several months ago, it was decided the facility was no longer viable not only for its cost, but because of environmental impact. The facility burns everything that gets throw in the trash, including batteries and light bulbs. While the facility does use charcoal and static-electricity-based filters, some 129 pounds of mercury are put into the environment (enough to beat most of the state's coal-fired power plants) and the plant is potent source of dioxins.

But closing the plant would shift the trash burden to area landfills, and some officials estimate this would cause the West Ashley landfill to be full in nine years. Opposition to such a situation by residents has made the incinerator seem more attractive.

Keep an eye on the incinerator issue at our incinerator topic page. County officials are trying to develop a 20- to 30-year plan on how to deal with the area's trash. Officials have also stated they hope the plan can be a "green" one that includes many recycling option.

Still, there are some that point out the county should look towards better ways of converting trash to energy, such as plasma-arc waste disposal, which would vaporize trash with few emissions.

If you missed the meeting but still want to comment, contact the Clerk of Council, Beverly Craven, 4045 Bridge View Drive, North Charleston, SC 29405.

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