Medical waste company Stericycle has cleared another hurdle in its effort to relocate its incinerator from North Salt Lake to Tooele County. The local planning commission approved a conditional use permit for the new facility this month, though two commissioners voted against it.
Stericycle Vice President of Corporate Communications Jennifer Koenig says the permit is necessary to move forward with a new facility, but it’s only one step among many.
“The conditional use permit represents the second major milestone in a series of hurdles that we have to get through to relocate the facility,” Koenig says. “The first milestone, of course, was the legislative approval.”
The company still needs solid waste, air, and water permits, as well as a building permit. Koenig estimates that could take six months to a year. She says a new facility is probably two to three years away.
The Tooele County Planning Commission was divided on the whether or not to grant the conditional use permit. The vote was 3 to 2. Commissioner Lynn Butterfield voted against the permit, calling Stericycle a “nuisance business” that pushes residents and other types of businesses out.
“My opinion is as a nuisance business, it actually does more economic damage to the community than it does add value to the community,” Butterfield says, but commissioners who approved it said the company met all the legal requirements and that the land is already zoned for this type of waste disposal.
In North Salt Lake City, residents and environmental activists have been pressuring the company to move after the Utah Division of Air Quality cited the incinerator for exceeding permitted levels of pollutants. Koenig says the company is in compliance and on track to make upgrades to its existing incinerator that will improve emissions by October - a deadline set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.