East Liverpool incinerator seeks new permit, says plant is safe

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WYTV) – It’s been four years since an ash cloud rose out of the Heritage Thermal Hazardous Waste Incinerator and coated the cars and homes of East Liverpool.

That cloud still lingers in people’s minds — which was evident in Thursday’s public hearing as Heritage seeks a new permit from the State EPA. However, the company president says there’s nothing to worry about.

“We’re getting more exposure from our cars driving around than our facility,” Christopher Pherson said.

Alonzo Spencer has been fighting against the plant for years. He says the state should hold the company accountable.

“They have cited them with numerous violations,” Spencer, a community activist, said. “They haven’t followed up on it.”

He says the state needs to be held accountable too.

“Well to be blunt, I would like to see the EPA enforce their regulations,” Spencer said. “We would be happy with that. Period. Enforce your regulations.”

For its part, the Ohio EPA says the plant has fixed the problems that led to that ash cloud.

“This facility has had incidents in the past with the plume — the 2013 ash release into the community,” Mike Settles of Ohio EPA said. “But the facility took steps to study what happened and made measures to try to prevent a re-occurrence.”

The company paid more than $30,000 in fines for that ash cloud. And Pherson says the plant is safe.

“Our air emissions at the facility is far less than just the local traffic emissions here locally in the area,” Pherson said. “People have no reason to worry.”