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Hazardous waste incinerator plan on hold

The company proposing to build a hazardous waste incinerator in Bristol Township has put its efforts on hold, the attorney for the company said this morning.

Allen Toadvine, a lawyer for Route 13 Bristol Partners, said the firm needs time to gather more specifics on the proposed plant's emissions, information the township zoning hearing board requested out of public health concerns.

The board was scheduled to consider on Monday the firm's application for a variance to build the incinerator, the first step in a years-long approval process. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection would give final approval.

The 50,000-square-foot plant would burn pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and other waste within a mile of the Delaware and densely populated towns. Emissions from hazardous waste incinerators are heavily regulated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which says its limits on incinerator emissions are "generally protective of human health and the environment." The agency  is in the process of reexamining those rules, which could become more strict.

The federal standards still allow for some toxins to escape, although the amounts are very small, experts say. Bristol Township's zoning hearing board would still like specifics on the parts per million of the emissions that could be released. To provide that information, Toadvine said the firm must first choose the manufacturer that would built the plant.

"I sent a letter to Bristol Township indicating that we're asking them to mark the application withdrawn without prejudice at this point," Toadvine said in a phone interview. "We haven't decided to pull out totally. But we need additional time to gather that information. And once we do that we'll decide whether to reapply to Bristol Township."