Officials from Tooele County and Stericycle have formally begun negotiations regarding exactly how much the medical waste handler will pay to operate an incinerator 20 miles northwest of Grantsville.
Commissioner Shawn Milne said the negotiations were going well, but progressing slowly because of multiple corporate processes the county has to work through in dealing with Stericycle. However, he said, at this time he is unable to comment on any specifics regarding the negotiations.
Jennifer Koenig, vice president of corporate communications, likewise confirmed that Stericycle had begun negotiations with the county, but said the company has made little progress toward its intended relocation to the Rowley area.
Stericycle, an Illinois-based company that currently operates a medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake, obtained a conditional use permit from Tooele County in July.
The company, however, must still obtain solid waste, air and water permits from various state and local agencies before the relocation can officially begin. Stericycle has estimated that the application process on these permits could take as long as six months.
Meanwhile, a state investigation into an emissions violation that occurred at the North Salt Lake incinerator site is ongoing.
Residents of the North Salt Lake neighborhood surrounding the incinerator, as well as other clean air activists, began to protest Stericycle’s waste handling methods when news of that violation first aired nearly a year ago.
The protests prompted Stericycle to seek legislative approval for a relocation to a more remote Utah location, and the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration agreed to sell the company 40 acres near Rowley in February of this year.
Soon after it became apparent that Stericycle did, in fact, plan to build a medical waste incinerator in Tooele County, Milne promised that Stericycle would be required to pay the county mitigation fees — as is required of many similar waste companies that operate within the county.
“We do expect they will be unhappy about mitigation fees,” he said in January, “but we have reinforced fairly sternly that the potential negatives [of the incinerator] would be similar to other issues in the industry. I for one am not willing to back away from that.”
However, mitigation fees are usually paid on a per-ton basis, and because Stericycle operates on a much smaller scale — it’s North Salt Lake incinerator processes roughly 15 million pounds, rather than tons, of waste per year — Milne said the county had asked Stericycle itself to propose another method for making payments.
The payment of mitigation fees was not included in 13 conditions placed on Stericycle’s conditional use permit from the county.