Covanta operates the dubiously named Delaware Valley Resource Recovery Facility in Chester, PA. This facility is one of the largest polluters in the region. In 2017 Covanta signed a 5 year contract with the Delaware County Solid Waste Authority. That contract could be renewed by the county’s Solid Waste Authority as soon as May. Almost a third of the trash burned at the incinerator is from Delaware County (with much of the rest from New York City and Philadelphia). There’s currently a movement under way to oppose this renewal and divert the trash to landfills or other means of handling waste.
There’s a number of reasons to close the incinerator and switch to landfills and diversionary disposal. The incinerator puts out a variety of harmful chemicals such as mercury and lead as well as particulates into the air. These can cause cancer, asthma and other health problems. Many of those toxins land here in Garden City as we’re only a few miles from the facility. Its in our own interest to shut this down. Its even more harmful to the city of Chester who live closer. Chester residents relatively few benefits (though Covanta does pay Chester $5 million per year) as only a handful of employees at the facility live in Chester itself. And as it burns trash, it emits carbon which contributes to global warming. At a presentation for EACs tonight, we were shown some of the information located here showing that incineration is neither a cost-effective way nor clean method of producing energy or disposing of trash.
There is a longstanding group of Chester residents active on the issue. Other environmental groups are starting to become active to take a role in opposing the incinerator’s continued operation. So keep a look out for more progress on this issue and reach out to elected officials encouraging them to take action.