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CG Health Dept. tells ZBA “proceed with caution” on CES permit


This news story was published on December 19, 2011.
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The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health (CGCDPH) said in a letter dated December 14th, 2011, that it “strongly recommends” testing, “air modeling” and other measures be undertaken before granting a conditional use permit to Creative Energy Systems (CES).

CES wants to build a $35 million waste to energy plant on Mason City’s south side, which would operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and utilize about 250 tons of trash each day.

One of the “hurdles” that CES must overcome before they can build their plant is obtaining a conditional use permit from the Mason City Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) (pictured).  They need a conditional use permit because there is no zoning in Mason City that allows for the type of operation they are proposing to build.

CES’s application to the ZBA has been left off of one agenda by city staff and postponed twice by the board due to a lack of information needed to make a decision.  The latest postponement by the ZBA was made in order to query the CGCDPH for information on the possible health ramifications the plant’s emissions would have on citizens.  There are serious health concerns expressed by the public and even some ZBA board members due to the proximity of the plant’s location to Newman Daycare and schools.  No one knows what, if any, the emissions from the plant would be, since, as the CGCDPH letter states, “this specific technology is untested.”

Now, in a letter dated December 14, 2011 the Cerro Gordo County Department of Health is calling for yet more information to be collected before making a decision on a conditional use permit.

“It is increasingly important that additional environmental data be collected that will support the claims made by the company (CES) about the environmental and public health protections,” the letter states.

“The Department strongly encourages the ZBA to proceed with caution by requiring… testing the waste… and air modeling.”

The  CGCDPH letter also tells the ZBA board that “a facility is only as good as the responsible operator, their financial responsibility, the technology used to manage the hazards, and the enforcement agency responsible for compliance.  If one of these links breaks down, there is potential for significant public health impacts.”

The ZBA board will be meeting Tuesday afternoon at 4 pm at City Hall and could vote on the conditional use permit at that time.

Read the entire CGCDPH letter to the ZBA.

 

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7 Responses to CG Health Dept. tells ZBA “proceed with caution” on CES permit

  1. Avatar

    The Jackal Reply Report comment

    December 20, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Start a bag of trash on fire and stick your face in the smoke… and tell me its ok air to breathe. Get this out of our town and tell ces to burn trash elsewhere.

    • Avatar

      anonymous Reply Report comment

      December 22, 2011 at 8:22 am

      They aren’t burning trash. How many times does it need to be said? THEY ARE NOT BURNING TRASH!

  2. Avatar

    comment Reply Report comment

    December 20, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Nice to see a board that does what they are supposed to do and not be influenced by our over inflated mayor.

  3. Avatar

    Cool breeze Reply Report comment

    December 20, 2011 at 1:11 am

    The zba board will now hopefully see this project is not proven to be safe like city leaders carelessly say it is.

  4. Avatar

    howcanthisbe Reply Report comment

    December 19, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    What’s interesting is how this site, NIT, is evolving. I only would go to this site once in awhile when I first heard about it several months ago. Now I find it is one of the first news sites I check in the AM. The way NIT has been handling the CES issue front and center is impressive. For example today they had the Cerro Gordo County Health letter up so MC citizens could read the valuable original source first hand. Readers feel respected when a news site supplies the info so we can evaluate it. We don’t need a reporter telling us what’s in it, interpreting the story for us. People want as many facts as possible to evaluate subjects themselves. This site represents the new media and will be interesting to watch as it progresses.

  5. Avatar

    Stacie Reply Report comment

    December 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I’m curious Observer for this comment:

    I will respond by saying Chlorine needs oxygen and heat to creat Dioxins. No oxygen is present at the conversion stage in the Pyrolysis retort, so chlorine is released as a gas that is soluble and is removed in the gas scrubbing stage.²

    what is the exact link to this information?

  6. Avatar

    Observer Reply Report comment

    December 19, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Well, in reading that letter, the Department of Public Health makes it impossible for anyone to comply with their recomendations. Unless they have a spare pyrolysis retort and gas scrubber handy, exactly how will they perform any tests?¹

    Also from the letter: “Dioxins are chlorine containing chemicals that are considered environmental pollutants. Often associated with burning, dioxins are produced by a wide variety of industrial processes.”

    I will respond by saying Chlorine needs oxygen and heat to creat Dioxins. No oxygen is present at the conversion stage in the Pyrolysis retort, so chlorine is released as a gas that is soluble and is removed in the gas scrubbing stage.²

    ¹ Tests that will reflect the type of equipment the plant will use.

    ² Source U.S. Department of Energy.