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Vernon Approves Facility for Treatment of Infectious Waste

July 03, 1986|CARMEN VALENCIA | Times Staff Writer

The City of Vernon has approved a conditional use permit for an infectious-waste treatment facility after a sole city official from Maywood showed up to air concerns at a public hearing.

The facility--which will disinfect hospital wastes--will be built by Security Environmental Systems Inc., which is also proposing a hazardous-waste incineration plant on the same 9.9-acre site.

Although both projects deal with waste products, it is the incineration plant that has raised the most ire from neighboring city officials, who are concerned about its location in the densely populated Southeast Los Angeles County area.

Security Environmental Systems was originally set to burn hospital wastes in the $18 million incineration plant but modified its plans after its Garden Grove facility was ordered to shut down, said Donald Bright, president of Bright & Associates, an Anaheim consulting firm handling applications and tests for the company.

Since approvals for the incinerator would take a long time, the company decided to install a separate facility to sterilize hospital wastes, Bright said, noting that there are fewer restrictions and no permits required from the air quality district for such a facility.

Hospital wastes, such as bandages and syringes, will be brought to the facility in bags and placed in an autoclave, where the waste is heated with steam under pressure. The material will then be disposed of in a landfill.

The hospital waste facility, at 3691 Bandini Blvd., should be in operation by late August, Bright said.

10 Types of Waste

The proposed incinerator, which could be operational by mid-1988, will burn 10 types of hazardous wastes, including solvents and refinery waste products that will be turned into ash and gases. The ash is taken to a landfill. The gases have to be treated.

Security Environmental Systems, which has operated hospital waste facilities in both Long Beach and Garden Grove, will need a myriad of permits from local, state and federal agencies before the incinerator plant can be built. Part of that lengthy process includes obtaining 23 permits from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Victor Vaits, Vernon's director of community services, said the city determined that an environmental impact report, listing environmental concerns, would not be necessary for the hospital waste facility. Vaits said that a similar facility is already operated in Vernon by another company.

Maywood officials have said they are concerned about both the treatment facility for infectious waste and the proposed incinerator.

Maywood Mayor Thomas Engle has pointed out that the site "is surrounded by a populous area. We want to make sure safeguards are provided."

"We want to be assured (the facility) does not put any resident in the city in jeopardy," Maywood city engineer Matt Binder said, noting that Maywood borders Vernon. Binder, who attended the hearing, said he was concerned about the storage and transportation of the hospital wastes.

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