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Durham grapples with incinerator’s ‘alarming’ emissions

Date June 14, 2016 Author Jason Smith Categories Industry News

The detection of an “alarming” amount of toxic emissions in a recent test has councillors and staff in Durham Region calling for more frequent testing of the controversial Clarington incinerator.

Among those pushing for more vigilance is the region’s chief medical officer of health, who told staff in an email obtained by the Star that the “sustained excessive emissions of dioxins and furans are a potential human health hazard, primarily by entering the food chain.” 

Last month, Covanta, the company running the $289-million Durham York Energy Centre in Clarington, reported to the region that emissions from one of the two boilers at the plant exceeded the limits set by the Ministry of Environment for dioxins and furans by almost 12 times. Dioxins and furans are toxic byproducts that can result from burning waste.

The test triggered the process of informing the region and the ministry, said Paul Gilman, chief sustainability officer for Covanta. “We also decided to (shut) the unit down and start analyzing what had caused that exceedance during the test.”

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