State officials have confirmed that they have begun talks with Stericycle regarding a possible sale of 40 acres of land just west of Stansbury Bay near U.S. Magnesium.
Stericycle is still considering several possible parcels near Rowley, so the sale is not yet final, said Deena Loyola, a public information officer with the Utah Trust Lands Administration. Additionally, she said, the sale is contingent on Stericycle complying with state regulations as well as Tooele County mitigation requirements.
Stericycle, a Illinois-based medical waste handler that operates an incinerator in North Salt Lake, has recently come under fire for the level of pollution its Salt Lake operation allegedly releases into a nearby residential neighborhood.
Last May, the Utah Division of Air Quality alleged that the company exceeded its emissions limit in May and that the company was allegedly manipulating tests designed to measure the incinerator’s emissions.
That area for the proposed sale is zoned for general manufacturing, a zone that can include incinerators with a conditional use permit, said Blaine Gehring, Tooele County planner.
The Rowley location seemed like a good fit for Stericycle, which could end up relocating its North Salt Lake incinerator to Tooele County, said Selin Hoboy, vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs for Stericycle.
“With U.S. Magnesium there, that area has been isolated and set aside for industrial use,” she said.
However, Stericycle must also obtain approval from three entities on the state level: the state legislature, the governor’s office, and the Utah Division of Air Quality. The results of those proceedings will impact whether or not Stericycle is able to operate on land zoned for general manufacturing.
The company will also have to obtain a conditional use permit from Tooele County, which in the process will likely hold a public hearing on the matter before issuing a permit.
“I think that if folks came to that meeting, planning and zoning would entertain public comment, even if it was not legally required,” said Tooele County Commissioner Shawn Milne.
At the moment, Milne said the county is still waiting for Stericycle to begin serious discussions about moving to the area. However, he said the company currently seems to be focused on working through the legislature and has not initiated negotiation related to sticking points such as mitigation fees.
“Until they approach us more, I don’t know that I have an opinion,” Milne said. “As it stands right now, I have lukewarm support, and the other commissioners feel the same.”
Milne said he has done his own research on the company since Stericycle began to show interest in moving to the area, and feels that most of his concerns have been addressed. Still, he said he wanted proof that the company’s May incident was isolated and that the company would not repeatedly violate air quality regulations. Milne believes the answer to that question could come out during the ongoing legislative session.
But for the time being, Milne said Stericycle and the county have yet to address any specifics about a possible relocation to the Tooele County area.
“They’ve contacted us and asked about generalities,” he said, “and we’ve communicated generalities back.”