OP-ED

Separating fact from fiction on the MedRecycler facility

By NICHOLAS CAMPANELLA
Posted 4/22/21

By NICHOLAS CAMPANELLA Any time you go to the dentist, emergency room, or bring your pet to the vet, that activity produces medical waste. To process the waste that we all generate, MedRecycler has proposed a safe, environmentally friendly way to handle

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OP-ED

Separating fact from fiction on the MedRecycler facility

Posted

Any time you go to the dentist, emergency room, or bring your pet to the vet, that activity produces medical waste. To process the waste that we all generate, MedRecycler has proposed a safe, environmentally friendly way to handle it in Rhode Island.

We plan to use a process called pyrolysis to not only divert tens of thousands of tons of waste from the Central Landfill, but also generate about 1.3MW of clean energy, enough to power over 1,000 Rhode Island homes. Our project will create 100 union construction jobs during build out and up to 40 full time jobs when were operating. Meanwhile, our facility will provide millions in tax revenue for the community over $4 million in property taxes to West Warwick alone.

We will take up less than ten percent of an existing industrial building right next to I-95 sited in an existing industrial park. The location has been zoned for industrial uses by both West Warwick and neighboring East Greenwich for many years.

Unfortunately, as our approval process has become more political, the number of misconceptions has grown. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, they are not entitled to their own facts.

These are the facts:

* The process we will use, pyrolysis, does not burn or incinerate waste. Instead, it evaporates waste at high temperatures and in the absence of oxygen. (Without oxygen there can be no burning or incineration.) The syngas created by the process is first cleaned in several cooling steps by an alkali scrubber before being used to generate electricity. It is not emitted into the air.

* The materials that we are allowed to accept are highly regulated and we will not accept chemotherapy waste, toxic waste or radioactive waste.

* Our facility will be located near other manufacturers, not in a neighborhood. It is also located off Route 2, which tens of thousands of vehicles travel every day.

* A small number of trucks (maximum of 8 daily) from registered Rhode Island companies with years of experience will deliver to the facility by appointment only. The waste, which will be sealed in sealed containers, will be electronically tracked and monitored, with that information stored for up to three years. Material will not be stored in trucks on site.

* Pyrolysis generates no waste water, so none will be discharged into the local sewer system, or impact local water supplies. This requirement is established by MedRecyclers application to R.I. DEM. The only water entering the West Warwick waste water system will be from bathrooms and our lunch room.

* Air emissions will be monitored and tested daily and reviewed regularly by R.I. DEM. The closed loop system that we have in place prevents fumes from being emitted.

* Safety protocols, systems and back-up systems are required and will be in effect throughout all stages of the process.

For the past two years, we have been working with DEM in a transparent review process to ensure that we meet and/or exceed their criteria for a safely operating facility. We have submitted over 800 pages of documentation and plans. The simple fact is that MedRecycler is committed to being a good and safe neighbor in our community, and an asset to Rhode Island.

Nicholas B Campanella is Chairman & CEO, Sun Pacific Power Corp.

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