Kevin Earl Dayhoff Art One-half Banana Stems

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Friday, June 21, 2002

20020620 New EPA Reports Confirm Waste-to-Energy's Clean Performance

New EPA Reports Confirm Waste-to-Energy's Clean Performance

Washington, D.C. (June 20, 2002) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released data confirming greater than 90% reductions in organic, metal, and acid gas emissions from waste-to-energy facilities nationwide as a result of the industry's compliance with the Clean Air Act standards.

"EPA's new emissions inventory is proof that the Clean Air Act results in significant environmental benefits for industry and the public it serves," said Maria Zannes, President of the Integrated Waste Services Association (IWSA), a national trade group representing the waste-to-energy industry and municipalities served by the technology.

The emissions inventory and accompanying reports released today by U.S. EPA are based on actual compliance test data of the nation's 66 large-unit waste-to-energy plants following a $1 billion upgrade in pollution control technology required by federal "Maximum Achievable Control Technology" (MACT) air standards promulgated in 1995 for large unit municipal waste combustors.

"America's cities that look to waste-to-energy as a solution to garbage disposal have done a tremendous job working with the U.S. EPA and industry to bring about this environmental success," said Zannes. "The reports show that waste-to-energy plants that generate electricity from trash represent one of the cleanest sources of power and safest methods of waste disposal in this country. The reports also show that modern pollution control equipment works very well to keep emissions very low."

More than 30 million people in 24 states rely upon 66 large-unit waste-to-energy plants that convert nearly 80,000 tons of trash each day into enough power to meet the needs of 2 million homes. Waste-to-energy technology results in avoiding the release of 11 million metric tons of greenhouse gases each year into the air, according to a new study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will be published this summer in Air & Waste Management magazine.

The EPA reports show that dioxin emissions from waste-to-energy facilities dropped by more than 99%; lead emissions by 91%; mercury emissions by 95%; particulate matter emissions by 90%; hydrogen chloride emissions by 94%; cadmium emissions by 93%; sulfur dioxide emissions by 87%; and emissions of nitrogen oxides decreased by 18% due to retrofitting the industry with the most modern pollution control technology. Mercury emissions nationwide represent less than three percent of the national inventory of man-made mercury emissions, and dioxin emissions from waste-to-energy facilities represent less than one percent of the nation's inventory of dioxin sources.

Communities with waste-to-energy plants recycle at a rate of 33% as compared with the national average of 28%. Waste-to-energy facilities in the U.S. annually recover for recycling nearly 800,000 tons of ferrous metals and more than 900,000 tons of glass, metal, plastics, batteries, ash and yard waste.

Waste-to-energy reduces trash volume by about 90%, resulting in a 90% decrease in the amount of land required for garbage disposal. Studies of ash landfill conducted by government agencies and universities over the past decade show that leachate is like salty water, with a metals content that would meet drinking water standards.

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