Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah House panel greenlights Stericycle move

Legislation needed to allow unpopular incinerator to relocate to Tooele County.

First Published Feb 19 2014 05:34 pm • Last Updated Feb 19 2014 10:26 pm

Legislation necessary to enable medical waste handler Stericycle to relocate its incinerating operations to Tooele County cleared a House committee Wednesday with broad support.

Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, is carrying HJR6 to help resolve an expanding battle over waste burning in what has become the school-filled North Salt Lake neighborhood of Foxboro.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"This is a great win for everyone involved," Hughes said.

Stericycle critics, however, contend incineration no longer has a place in waste management, and argue the company should be forced to shut down in light of recent allegations by state regulators that Stericycle violated various provisions of its permit. The company is formally contesting the allegations.

Meanwhile, company officials say incineration is the best way to dispose of a small fraction of medical waste, namely body parts, trace chemotherapy agents and non-hazardous pharmaceuticals. The North Salt Lake plants accepts this kind of waste from several western states and nearly everything else goes to autoclaves elsewhere.

"We provide a vital and necessary waste management service to the health care community in Utah," Stericycle executive Selin Hoboy told the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee. "We recognize the neighborhood has grown up around us and it’s no longer an ideal location."

Rep. Merrill Nelson, whose district would host the new incinerator, endorsed the proposed move. Medical waste is a necessary byproduct of world-class health care, and Stericyle’s violation was its only one in 24 years of operations, said Nelson, R-Grantsville. He characterized it as a "technical violation" that resulted in no harm.

To the company’s critics, however, the state’s notice of violation reflected multiple abuses that are serious and bring the company’s honesty into question.

Later this week, a Senate committee is expected to hear legislation banning medical waste incineration within two miles of a residential area. Republican Sen. Todd Weiler, whose Davis County district includes North Salt Lake, is sponsoring SB196, which would not apply to existing incinerators.

Commercial incineration of medical waste has been consolidated into centralized plants in about a dozen states over the past two decades. However, just one state bans the practice and five others won’t issue new permits, Hoboy said.

story continues below
story continues below

State law requires approval from the Legislature, the local government and the governor on the siting of any new solid waste facility. Tooele County officials are already on board. They say the proposed location on state land near Rowley is an appropriate place for an incinerator, which will not pose a threat as long as Stericycle complies with standards.

"We have full faith in the established regulatory process. We believe that process will address any prudent concerns regarding real or perceived impacts to the safety of the environment, the company’s work force and the general public," County Commissioner Shawn Milne told the committee.


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.