On Wednesday, the WVDEP Department of Air Quality notified the public that they had granted the air quality permit for a medical waste incinerator proposed by Thunder Mountain Environmental Services (TMES) in Jackson County. You can read a copy of the notice by clicking here.
The air quality permit is one of at least 6 state permits required for TMES to construct and operate the facility. Even with an air permit, TMES can’t incinerate medical waste without all permits.
Thanks to citizen advocacy, the Division of Air Quality strengthened the air permit by requiring additional protections for public health. TMES must now:
- Create a management plan that guarantees TMES will not accept prohibited materials (including radioactive waste and hazardous pharmaceutical waste). This could decrease toxic emissions by keeping prohibited waste out of the incinerator;
- Instead of semi-annual reporting of information about how much waste is processed, details of malfunctions, and their reasons for exceeding any pollution limits, these reports must be submitted quarterly for the first two years;
- Any time continuous emissions are at levels higher than what DAQ allows, TMES must notify DAQ within 24 hours and submit a follow-up report within 10 days;
- The amount of toxic furans permitted to be emitted is significantly lower than what was originally proposed (that’s a huge win!).
While the DEP granted the air permit, there are several others. All applicable permits must be approved for a medical waste incinerator to legally operate in West Virginia. For TMES to operate, we anticipate they need at least 3 other permits from DEP as well as 2 from DHHR.
WV Dept. of Environmental Protection Permits:
Construction Stormwater (controls stormwater runoff during construction)
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit (sets pollutant discharge limits)
Industrial Stormwater permit (controls stormwater runoff during operations)
WV Dept. of Health and Human Resources:
Alternative Treatment Permit
Commercial Medical Waste (CMW) Management Facility Permit
DHHR recently denied the Alternative Treatment and CMW permits. To read their letter, click here.
Without all of these permits, the facility cannot be constructed. We are keeping a close eye on this proposed facility to ensure that Thunder Mountain Environmental Services follows the current regulations and that communities are protected from pollution.
Thank you once again for your unwavering support and advocacy.
WV Rivers Team