Public opposed to incineration

Letter by Ron Marman
Cape Breton Post
Thurs., Jan 19, 2006

Why is incineration still on the table for dealing with the tar ponds sludge? It is quite apparent that people in this community have spoken out against this aspect of the proposed cleanup.

When incineration was first announced I phoned my district councillor, Vince Hall, and expressed my concerns. To his credit, Coun. Hall wanted to study the incineration process before he commented publicly and he has since said he too is against incineration.

All incinerators have what is called "upset conditions." The Environmental Impact Statement filed by the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency (Executive Summary, Paragraph 7, Page 47) contains a report by AMEC dealing with assumed accidents and malfunctions. Although the conclusion drawn in this section is that any malfunctions would have an insignificant effect on human health, we must keep in mind this conclusion is based on assumptions.

AMEC is qualified to make these assumptions, but why incinerate and take a chance when incineration is not necessary? Why would we assume a mobile incinerator brought in to burn PCB sludge would perform any better than the municipal garbage incinerator?

One of the questions I asked of STPA was what model of incinerator is proposed and where that type is in use. I planned to contact the facility to ask for performance records but I was informed that the exact model is unknown. I doubt that anyone can show me an incinerator that has not had any serious problems.

Would the tar ponds agency be willing to specify a performance bond that the contractor must forfeit if the incinerator does not meet the environmental guidelines?

Imagine the effect on tourism and our local university if an incinerator burning toxic sludge is in operation in the area.

The tar ponds problem has to be dealt with as soon as possible. Let s get on with the job. Do it within budget and without causing more problems by using an incinerator.