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Davis Journal

Company must pay civil penalty

NORTH SALT LAKE—Stericycle, Inc. has entered into a settlement agreement with the Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to resolve alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act and Utah air quality regulations at its medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake that occurred between September 2012 and May 2013.

The settlement requires Stericycle to pay a $600,000 civil penalty and contribute $2 million to support a Supplemental Environmental Project to replace older, high-emitting school buses in the Davis School District, according to a release.

The United States’ complaint alleges that Stericycle operated its waste incinerator “in a manner that exceeded regulatory limits for nitrogen oxides (NOx), failed to properly conduct stack tests and failed to comply with reporting requirements,” the EPA said. 

EPA investigated the alleged violations with the Utah Division of Air Quality that conducted its own investigation and issued a Notice of Violation in 2014. 

“This settlement will benefit all who live in and visit North Salt Lake,” EPA Acting Regional Administrator Debra H. Thomas said in the statement. “In addition to NOx reductions at the facility, the settlement requires Stericycle to replace old, high-emitting school buses for a local school district, providing cleaner air for school children and nearby neighborhoods.”

NOx is a key component in the formation of ground-level ozone, a pollutant that worsens diseases such as asthma, irritates lungs and can increase susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, the EPA said.

“Medical waste incinerators must operate in strict compliance with our nation’s clean air laws,” Jean E. Williams, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said in the release. “Stericycle has installed new pollution controls and made operational changes to remedy the violations alleged in the complaint.”

Previously Stericycle elected to discontinue incineration operations at the facility and relocate to another site. Although incineration will cease in July 2022, the North Salt Lake site will continue to be owned and operated by Stericycle and used as a collection and transportation facility.