The private firm that operates Davis County's burn plant has polluted the environment, falsified records and defrauded the public, according to charges in a civil complaint filed in 2nd District Court by the Davis County Solid Waste Management and Energy Recovery District.
The complaint charges that Delaware-based Davis Energy Systems Co. has not only failed to meet numerous contractual agreements but has violated state and federal laws.The $54 million burn plant, or "energy recovery facility," burns garbage collected from all Morgan and Davis county communities (except Bountiful) to produce steam, which is then sold to the adjacent Hill Air Force Base. Davis Energy Systems, a subsidiary of Katy Industries Inc., has operated the plant under contract since 1984.
The complaint alleges Davis Energy Systems Co.:
- Falsified records about the amount of lime added to the burning process. Lime is used to decrease air pollution.
- Falsified records about the amount of garbage burned.
- Permitted its employees to remove items from the garbage, including "large amounts of tires, athletic shoes, fishing rods and food."
- Dumped contaminated and un-neutralized water into the waste stream, unauthorized channels and the storm water pond in violation of state environmental health laws.
- Failed to maintain and repair the plant.
- Concealed these acts from the district, telling the district, for example, that correct amounts of lime were being used and that the waste water was being properly disposed of.
Last January, the state Bureau of Air Quality cited Davis Energy Systems for violating air quality standards, having faulty monitoring equipment and keeping inadequate records.
In its lawsuit, the district also says Davis Energy, in violation of the contract, refuses to accept garbage brought to the plant by citizens in private vehicles. The company also refuses to accept tires and will not accept medical waste unless "unreasonable and improper conditions . . . be met," the suit says.
Davis Energy will not allow a medical waste sterilizing unit to be built on district-owned land next to the plant, the complaint states.
In addition to $300,000 in compensatory damages, the district is asking that Davis Energy be ordered to pay $100,000 in punitive damages. The suit also asks the court to order Davis Energy off the premises.
In a press release, William H. Murphy, president of Katy Industries Inc., did not address any of the allegations specifically but did note a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Davis Energy filed last year against the district.
In that suit, Davis Energy is seeking to recover money it says the district owes for architectural work on the plant.