Communities with nearby hazardous waste incinerators say safety violations and accidents occur at the toxic trash facilities, and are divided about benefits the industry provides, a study released Saturday said.
Half or more of the communities reported no change in the employment rate or cost of public services; population increases from 2 percent to 15 percent; and decreases in air quality, the Grand County League of Women Voters study said.Officials at four out of eight of the incinerators "stated that no accidents or violations had occurred (while) other evidence documented their occurrences," the 36-page study said.
A fifth official admitted only to a safety violation while another said "there are no impending regulatory violations" at his plant, the study said.
The report also contains warnings from the majority of respondents in five communities against placing trust in state and federal agencies to monitor incinerators adequately.
Respondents from all areas were almost evenly divided over the question of whether the incinerators had overall negative or positive impacts on communities.
"A Survey of Eight Communities Near Commercial Hazardous Waste Incinerators" took six months to complete and takes no stand on the issue of hazardous waste incineration or a proposed project at Cisco, northeast Grand County.
Grand County Commission Chairman Jimmie Walker said he would make any comments after reviewing the study.
Carl Rappe, spokesman for the Grand County chapter of the Colorado-Utah Alliance for a Safe Environment, said he found the report "fairly objective" and it will probably support efforts to pass an election referendum that would prohibit hazardous waste incineration in Grand County.
"If the people read it good, I think it'll probably work for it, if they look at the accidents and conflicting testimony," Rappe said. "Of course these things too, you have to keep in mind, are not in tourist areas or retirement areas."
The group has scheduled an open house from 7-9 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Moab Community Civic Center to answer questions about the study.
The communities that responded to the request for information included: El Dorado, Ark.; Coffeyville, Kansas; Calvert City and Clay, Kentucky; Grafton, Ohio; Lenoir, N.C., and Rock Hill and Roebuck, S.C.