BY JENNIFFER WARDELL
Clipper Staff Writer
NORTH SALT LAKE — After a surprise visit to the North Salt Lake City Council, opponents of Stericycle may have won more regulations against the incinerator.
North Salt Lake Mayor Len Arave directed city staff to look into the potential difficulties of modifying Stericycle’s conditional use agreement so that the company has to notify residents every time there’s a bypass. A bypass in their system sends pure toxins into the air, which incinerator offices insist happens only three or four times a year. According to residents, however, it happens three or four times a week.
“This way, it will be on record,” said Robert Bowcock, an environmental investigator who works with Erin Brokovich. “There will be less ‘he said, she said.’”
The notification would include a call to local schools to keep the kids inside from recess, much like a smog day. There would also be an opt-in e-mail notification system that would be sent to residents.
“It seems like a reasonable request,” said Arave.
Protest against Stericycle exploded when the Utah Division of Air Quality issued a Notice of Violation against the incinerator last May. The division had recorded illegal emissions of nitrous oxide from the incinerator since December of 2011.
According to Natasha Hicks, a local resident and organizer of the protest group, the group hopes to force Stericycle to move to sterilization of its medical waste rather than incineration. Ultimately, the goal is to shut Stericycle down completely.
“We’re trying to work every angle we can,” she said. “We’re still going to keep the pressure on Stericycle.”
On Tuesday night, the pressure was firm but calm. Though a fellow protestor introduced Bowcock by stating that he was going to “confront” the city council, Bowcock himself argued against the term the moment he got up to speak.
“I’m not here to confront,” he said. “I’m here to have an open and honest discussion.”
Bowcock said that he plans on continuing those kind of discussions until the danger has truly passed for residents.
“I’m here until it’s over,” he said. “I’m here until I can sleep at night and the Foxboro community knows they’ll wake up to clean air in the morning.”