But the diesel-fueled incinerators can release pollutants into the air and require operating permits from the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. That requirement has the city facing legal sanctions – the state recently discovered the city has been running its incinerators without permits for six years.
The city recently purchased two replacement incinerators – for $31,940 apiece – which also have no permits.
So, because our Public Works Director Eric Nielsen, a man who has worked for the city since the 1990’s, “didn’t think the machines were regulated because of their size,” the city did not have the proper permits for the last six years! Wow. So just how much is this going to cost the city?
Upon receiving Suffolk’s application, Brandt will determine what type of permit is needed and whether to take enforcement action. Sanctions could include a civil charge, a consent order – which sets a timeline and steps the city must take to comply with environmental regulations – or both. Fines can reach up to $32,500 per day per violation.
“A civil charge like that could reach into the tens of thousands of dollars, which could be very difficult to settle, so it’s normally not that high,” Brandt said.
Lucky us, they will give us a break on the fines, but still no word as to how high the fines may be. According to the article, Suffolk has twice as many incinerators as VA Beach to deal with 2/3rds of the animal carcasses that VA Beach handles. But we don’t have permits to run any of the 4 machines we currently run. So what would a permit have cost us?
Operators are responsible for applying for permits, which generally are free for incinerators.
You’re kidding right? So now we are facing the possibility of huge fines because the Public Works Director chose to go with his own thoughts on the matter instead of looking up the regulations. But don’t worry folks. It’s a good time to be in Suffolk.