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The Harrisburg Incinerator is a Dioxin Factory!

Harrisburg's incinerator is pumping out 15-140 times more dioxin than the total of the other 3 PA incinerators for which comparable data is available

Incinerator               Dioxin emissions
American Ref-Fuel                   51	
Wheelabrator Falls                   3	
York County                          5
Harrisburg (1994, 1996 tests)     8231
Harrisburg (1997 tests)            909
Harrisburg (1999 tests)           1170

New Dioxin Legal Limit (ESPs)       60
New Dioxin Legal Limit (non-ESPs)   30

  • ng/dscm = nanograms per dry standard cubic meter
  • ESPs = electrostatic precipitators (pollution
    control devices which PRODUCE dioxins while
    capturing particulate matter)
[Note: EPA knows that ESPs create dioxin, so they allow
incinerators which use ESPs (Harrisburg is the only
one in Pennsylvania) to emit twice as much dioxin as
incinerators with better pollution control equipment.

The new dioxin limits apply only to "large" incinerators
as of December 19th, 2000. The Harrisburg incinerator shut
down on December 18th and reopened in January as a "small"
incinerator (under 500 tons per day) - burning the same amount
of waste it was already burning.]

For more detials, check out:
Dioxin Emissions from Pennsylvania Incinerators
Emissions Standards (Appendix C of Municipal Waste Combustor Plan)
Please notice that the dioxin limits are allowed to be twice as high for incinerators using ESPs.

Pollution Controls at PA Incinerators (Appendix D of Municipal Waste Combustor Plan)
This shows that the Harrisburg incinerator is the only one in PA that uses ESPs (and nothing else!) for pollution controls.

Harrisburg incinerator = #1 dioxin emitter in U.S.

Dioxin in the Canadian Arctic

In October 2000, Dr. Barry Commoner conducted a study for the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation showing that dioxin emissions from the United States contribute to the dioxin contamination in the northern Arctic.

At the 8 sites in Nunavut (land in northern Canada recently turned over to Native Americans) that the study looks at, the Harrisburg incinerator is the #1 source of dioxin pollution at half of them. At the other half, the Harrisburg incinerator is between the 3rd and 7th highest contributors.

Table 5.3 of the full report (see below) shows the Harrisburg incinerator to be the largest dioxin source among those contributing to the dioxin fallout in the Nunavut.

Arctic Study Website

Full Report (4 MB in Acrobat format)

Short Summary (641K in Acrobat format - does not mention Harrisburg incinerator)

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