Thursday, July 24, 2014

Covanta's trash plan made simple

According to the Delco Times, folks were up in arms about Covanta’s proposal to build a couple more buildings on their property at last night’s city council meeting in anticipation of a council vote that had been tabled the day before. It didn’t seem to stop folks from using the pubic comment time to voice their opinions.

Let’s take a moment and help some people understand the issues at hand. 

Issue 1 Covanta’s done deal
Covanta has already signed the deal with New York City to take their trash for the next 20 years.

Issue 2 Covanta’s plan for Chester with NYC trash
Some reports say the 20 year deal with NYC is a total of 1 million tons of trash and other says 500,000 tons of trash per year. In either case, Chester is expected to receive a few hundred tons of NYC trash to bring the Chester plant up to maximum burning capacity allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency. They currently burn at about 75% of capacity. Or, Covanta is saying that the NYC trash will replace some of the existing trash they’re currently receiving and they’ll still burn at 75%. I can’t seem to follow this part of the story. 

Issue 3 Covanta is asking Chester to approve two buildings
Covanta wants to build a new office building. What could be the harm in that? Yet, the planning commission denied that request. Covanta also wants to build a building to accommodate the new method of NYC truck trash delivery. By denying this request will make Covanta rethink how they’re going to get the trash to Chester. I don’t think it’s going to stop them.

Issue 4 Covanta emissions Part 1
This discussion of new trash has reawakened the community on the level of emissions emitted from the Covanta plant. However, the proposal for two new buildings has nothing to do with emissions which is why the Covanta folks are upset at the planning commission’s denial. The commission has not expressed that anything was wrong with the building proposal but the proposal was denied anyway.

Issue 5 Covanta emissions Part 2
The discussion on emissions should not stop. The community should make sure that the EPA is not allowing Covanta to skimp on emissions filtering especially in light of President Obama’s recent successful push on emissions of coal fired plants which is geared to help prevent the same health related issues (or is the coal issue more geared toward global warming? - I get confused here, too).

Issue 6 My Prediction
Besides having this decision being dragged out for months by city council, Covanta will find another way to get their new trash to Chester. It will mean much more truck traffic from Wilmington to Chester. Covanta will likely go back to the planning commission to ask permission to build their office building if they really need one that badly. How can you deny a company an office building?


  1. Bottom line Chester is getting more trash and pollution and higher cancer rates for the next 20yrs.... and because we are a city of hard working poor folks. ... there is nothing we can do about it. ....

  2. cancer show us data you comment have no facts to them poor folks is that you work hard is that you. you have alot comments but never any facts