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American Enterprise Bank

Incinerator data ‘generalized and vague’

Dear Editor:

I attended the April 3 county commission meeting regarding the proposed bio-hazard treatment plant and I’m concerned about this health risk coming to our hometown.

I find it very troubling that the information presented from the Integrated Waste Management Systems representatives at the meeting was very generalized and extremely vague at best. No specific information was delivered to the concerned citizens or county commissioners, which left me with grave concerns considering specific information was requested of them.

Yet, specific information was presented to the immediate property owners surrounding the planned construction site on March 29. This leads one to believe the citizens of Baker County are intentionally not being provided relevant information regarding the significant health concerns surrounding this project.

Surprisingly, our county officials have been working with Integrated Waste Management for more than a year and no one has presented any type of risk analysis or hazard model regarding the nine regulated toxins that will be steadily released into the Baker County air. Furthermore, the director of our development commission has confidence in the company and the technology they intend to use. Yet, to date, no such plant exists anywhere to determine or ascertain any specific performance measures.

Your article also states, “New, stricter environmental regulations on the disposal of such garbage – which consists of human blood, tissue and things that come in contact with them ...”

Tissue — that means human flesh. So truckloads of containers full of the remains of aborted babies, diseased body parts, blood and containers filled with every other infectious disease known to man could be coming to Baker County for final dispersion into our environment.

Janet Herrick of Onsite Environmental Consulting was quoted: “The resulting gas will then be filtered and the final product will be ‘smokeless, odorless and inert.’” She further stated that “under the right weather conditions, the emission could appear as fog.” This leaves me wondering if this fog will resemble the same smoke that appeared during the Holocaust.

The director of the Baker County Development Commission also is quoted as saying Macclenny Fire Department personnel are trained to respond to emergencies involving hazardous materials.

God bless the public servants who rush to our aid and respond to everything, whether they are or are not properly equipped and trained. Last time I checked, there was no fully certified HAZMAT (hazardous materials) response team in Macclenny, or for that matter the entire county. Biological hazardous material is not labeled and packaged like other hazardous material. The decontamination processes available to us for biological contamination are very limited.

An Integrated Waste Management Systems official also says the facility would take in  “between 30 and 60 tons of processed waste per day, but the latter figure would be unlikely for safety reasons.”

Why is there more of a safety risk for 60 tons per day than 30 tons per day? Is there a daily accumulation factor of these toxins to be concerned about? Is it possible the processing 60 tons could exceed known safety thresholds? Why wasn’t any of this information made available at the commissioners’ meeting?

These aren’t difficult questions and certainly someone should be held accountable to insure they are answered from an independent source.

Why was this meeting scheduled during spring break, when a lot of us are on vacation? Why is the next and final meeting scheduled so soon after, on April 16? How can the commissioners make an informed decision in only 13 days? If our county officials have been working on this project for more than a year, why rush now?

It is projected this facility could produce as much as 6,000 pounds of solid waste a day. That amounts to well over 2,000,000 pounds per year. Where is this waste going to go? Is it possible our taxes will one day be raised to support necessary landfills?

Sounds like a win-win for Integrated Waste Management Systems and the local government. Baker County makes money on the sale of the property, Integrated Waste Management Systems imports waste from Pennsylvania and other states, perhaps even from another country and then the Baker County residents foot the bill to extend our landfills.

Facilities such as this one are necessary; however, they should not be located near any town or municipality regardless of the size or population base. There are vast amounts of vacant acreage all over Florida and other regions of the United States where these processes could occur without threatening our health and livelihood.

I bet there’s even room in Pennsylvania!

Joe DeFee


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