Tag Archives: polllution

Peninsula Composting and composting in general

[Note:  This post is a work in progress because we are waiting for the DNREC to provide transcripts and other requested documents.]

Composting is a good thing.  It’s the best way to handle the “organic” materials that make up around 30 percent of “municipal solid waste” (garbage).  “Compost” is very useful in farming and gardening.

But composting, like everything else, has to be done right.  It is essentially a controlled form or rotting.   Done wrong, it can stink, cause air and water pollution, drive neighbors out of their homes.

Backyard or neighborhood composting doesn’t usually cause problems.  Many communities compost yard waste–grass clippings, etc, and this doesn’t usually cause problems.

Composting food waste is manageable but does have more tendency to cause odors and attract rodents, especially if animal parts are involved.

When sewage sludge is added to the mix, things obviously become even more difficult.

Trying to compost mixed garbage is always a disaster.

Composting is regulated by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).  There are approximately ___ permitted composting operations in Delaware.

Delaware had one big, bad experience with composting by the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA, Green Delaware has often called it the “Dirty Authority”) at Pigeon Point, just south of Wilmington.  In the 1980s the DSWA started up a large composting operation as part of an elaborate garbage processing operation including an incinerator.  The feed to the composting operation reportedly included 275 tons per day of partially separated garbage and 250 tons per day of City of Wilmington sewage sludge.  It was a disaster, stinking people out of their homes.  The compost was unusable as it contained toxic PCBs.

This operation, along with the rest of the processing operations, were eventually shut down after years of community complaints.

For some background on the Dirty Authority see this article from 1998:  “Misguided Delaware Solid Waste Authority Embarrasses State, Harms Communities, Doesn’t Recycle our Trash.”

Jump to 2007 and a proposal for a 700 ton per day composting in South Wilmington.  There was lots of cheerleading for this and, as is often the case, Green Delaware stood mostly alone in raising concerns.  Some of these:

o     It would be a large operation that would bring hundreds of tons per day of often-rotten food waste from surrounding states; a much larger operation than needed to meet Delaware needs.  Because of the distances, food waste would have a chance to get stinky before it even entered the composting process;

o     It would be located in a classic “environmental justice” (lower income, people of color) community already burdened by many health and environmental problems;

o     Some of those involved had a history of causing environmental problems.

See this 2007 Wilmington News Journal article: “Recycling company wants to compost out-of-state food waste near Wilmington

The Southbridge Civic Association signed a “Community Benefits Agreement” with the promoters.  We are waiting for a copy, but a description of it is available in this presentation.

Marvin Thomas, former President of the Southbridge Civic Association, said there were few complaints during the first couple of years of operations, but many since.  He said the Civic Association and surrounding communities are united in their desire that Peninsula Composting be shut down.  He indicated that communities have not recently sought to implement other parts of the agreement because they are at odds with Peninsula.  He also indicated that many community residents are not interested in working there because of poor working conditions and low pay.

Transcript of hearing on the Markell administration’s proposed (non) cleanup of the former Vlasic/Pinnacle pickle packing plant in Millsboro, DE

On December 17, 2013, a public hearing was held in Millsboro.

Here’s the official transcript of the hearing.

Delaware was once known for the high quality of its environmental public hearings.   It’s really sad to see what a joke they have become. Continue reading

Alert 671: Delaware environmental laws under attack by “Clean Air Council”

BASF, with help from “Clean Air Council,” seeks to roll back Del. environmental laws, build highly-polluting “biomass” incinerator in Newport, DE
Public outrage needed NOW.  See below for action steps.

Friends:

Today, January 12, 2010, the Delaware General Assembly goes back into session.  As usual, this presents both threats and opportunities.

Delaware has few environmental distinctions.  One of these few is a strong law against incinerators.

Since 2000 this law, championed by State Senator David McBride, has protected thousands of people from death and disease caused by air pollution.

Special interests don’t stop conniving to weaken it.  Continue reading

“Statement of Evidence–Particulate Emissions and Health” by Professor Vyvyan Howard (38 pages).

This is not light reading, but neither is the subject.  Anyone wanting to know more about air pollution and health will find it worthwhile to plow through these 38 pages.

Vyvyan Howard is also a key person behind the longer report The Health Effects of Waste Incinerators from the British Society for Ecological Medicine

Imprudent, unhealthy doings at the Delaware Electric Cooperative

Shortsighted plans at Delaware Electric Cooperative
Coop should not invest members’ energy future in new coal plant

Alan Muller
Green Delaware

Years ago, I suggested in the State News that Delaware Electric Cooperative (“the Coop”) should invest in conservation and efficiency programs in its own service area, benefiting members and local businesses, rather than send this money our of state to buy nuclear power from Virginia. Continue reading

Alert 662: The big bad guys, a sick river, some good guys, and “Cooling towers”

Many readers will know about this issue–Green Delaware has written about it quite a bit, and recently even the mainstream press has been paying some attention.

Technically, the problem is simple:  Big bad industrial sites–mainly, in Delaware, Conectiv’s Edge-Moor Power Plant, Valero’s Delaware City Refinery, and NRG’s Indian River Power Plant–pump hundreds of millions of gallons of water out of the Delaware River and Rehoboth Bay every day.  DuPont, Sunoco, and others are also offenders.  The biggest single offender is the Salem/Hope Creek nuclear complex across the river in New Jersey. Continue reading

Report on May 28, 2009, Newport incinerator meeting ….

A battle won, but the war will continue.

“There is no way we are going to work that this session.”

—House Speaker Bob Gilligan

“The state, however, needs to be careful not to allow cogeneration systems to burn high emission solid fuels.”
–candidate Jack Markell

Continue reading

Governor: new ideas and real change needed for Delaware

From Dr. James Prescott

In his “State of the State” address, Gov. Jack Markell, like President Obama and many other governors, is faced with a financial and economic crisis that has not been experienced since the Great Depression: “Our state government also faces a challenge: the largest budget shortfall in our state’s history, almost $780 million and growing. Together, we must balance our budget; we must live within our means. We must keep our government’s core commitments, such as protecting the health and safety of our families, fostering the growth of our economy and protecting the quality of our air and water. We must give every child an opportunity to succeed and assist our senior citizens and those with disabilities.

Continue reading

Greendel Alert 658: “Biomass” burners could liquidate our forests

Boston Globe op-ed: “A red flag on green energy plan”

Friends:

I hope you are aware of, and speaking out against, the current attempt to roll back Delaware’s nation-leading laws against incineration.  If not, see:

Alert 654: Ciba (BASF) rolls out a new air pollution threat to your health…..
and
Letter to General Assembly members: “No ‘biomass’ burning in Delaware

The News Journal also has done a story:

In the News-Journal: “Ciba proposes waste-fueled generator”

(The rest of Delaware’s media, including blogs, has mostly been in blackout mode.)
Continue reading