WOODS CROSS - A bill that wouldn’t allow permitting for medical incinerators within two miles of homes was considered in the Utah Legislature this week.
Sen. Todd Weiler's Senate District 23 includes the Stericycle medical waste facility in the Foxboro area of North Salt Lake.
The district also includes all of the state’s five oil refineries.
Weiler's S.B. 196 would prohibit the Utah Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste from approving an operation plan or issuing a permitted within a two-mile radius of a residential area.
The bill wouldn’t apply to existing facilities.
However, as has been widely reported, Stericycle has said it wants to move, possibly to Tooele County.
“To do that, the legislature needs to pass a resolution that would allow them to get a new permit,” he said.
Rep. Greg Hughes is preparing a resolution, but it hasn’t made it into the House.
“If that resolution doesn’t get passed this year, that would delay any move by at least a year,” Weiler said.
He estimated that even if everything went as smoothly as possible, it would be 18 months before a new medical incinerator could be up and running.
That’s because any new incinerator request would require nine to 12 month review by the Division of Environmental Quality, followed by obtaining a permit to allow construction.
“That construction could take six to nine months,” Weiler estimated. “It’s imperative if they’re going to move, that that resolution gets done this year.”
Of his bill, Weiler said he isn’t trying to derail cities or counties from being able to set and follow their own planning and zoning rules.
“I’m hoping that two-mile buffer also will send a strong message to cities and counties that they shouldn’t allow encroachment,” the former Woods Cross city councilman said.
“A lot of people are pointing the finger at North Salt Lake, but it (BFI, then Stericycle) was clearly there first,” before any homes were built, he said.
Other states have imposed similar restrictions for such facilities, Weiler added.