The company is looking to set up shop just over EG line in West Warwick
The company planning to open a medical waste recycling plant just over the East Greenwich line in West Warwick will appear before the Dept. of Environmental Management (DEM) Monday, Jan. 25, for an “informational workshop” to explain pyrolysis – the recycling technique it plans to use – at a virtual public meeting.
Medrecycler has leased space at 1600 Division Road, in a section of West Warwick bounded by East Greenwich, Route 2 and Route 95. Because of the proposed plant’s proximity to East Greenwich, including the New England Tech (NEIT) campus, a day care, and residential neighborhoods, and because only access to the property is via East Greenwich, town officials have expressed concern about the recycling technique, which is not widely used.
DEM approved a “minor source” air permit for MedRecycler last May, during a hearing in which public comment was not allowed. East Greenwich appealed that decision to both DEM and Superior Court (with NEIT signing on to the Superior Court appeal), arguing it should have had a chance to comment as an abutter.
Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter dismissed the town’s appeal in August but allowed the town to amend its complaint. After a subsequent hearing in October, the judge appointed former Chief Justice Frank Williams as mediator. The two sides have met three times so far and, according to Town Solicitor Peter Skwirz, “the parties are still discussing.” The focus of the talks is on what sorts of conditions could be placed on the air permit to protect health and safety, Skwirz said.
In September, DEM ruled against the town regarding the air permit appeal. Medrecycler sought attorneys’ fees from the town in that case, arguing the suits were nuisance, but DEM disagreed in December.
Meanwhile, the company is in the midst of seeking a major source permit for water discharge (major source permit hearings include public comment). The company is making its Jan. 25 presentation in advance of that. The actual hearing – when public comment will be heard – will take place March 15.
Owner Nick Campanella sent this statement about ongoing questions about its application:
“I’ve said from the beginning that Medrecycler was going to be a good neighbor in Rhode Island, and a safe one. Our good faith effort to address the town’s questions and concerns confirms that we will be a good neighbor. Meanwhile, the lengthy list of conditions in the DEM letter of intent – all of which we have agreed to – means that our operation will be safe. Everyone on the Medrecycler team looks forward to building this project that will create jobs and economic activity while also producing green energy that will help move Rhode Island closer to its renewable goals.”
The company still needs approval from the City of West Warwick.
Find DEM’s letter of intent to approve the major source water permit – which included 14 conditions – here: DEM MedRecycler Notice of Intent.
Find information about the Jan. 25 and March 15 virtual meetings, including zoom links, here: DEM Medrecycler Meetings.
Find previous EG News stories about MedRecycleRI here:
Town Handed 2 Legal Setbacks
West Warwick Medical Recycling Plant Would Use High Heat Technology
Town Appeals Permit for West Warwick Medical Waste Plant
EG Seeks More Input on Planned West Warwick Recycling Plant
Statement above is not true: “DEM approved a “minor source” air permit for MedRecycler last May, during a hearing in which public comment was not allowed.”
DEM does not have a public hearing process for minor source air permits.
Thanks for the clarification.
Well, if DEM does not have a public hearing process for minor source air permits, then public comment was ABSOLUTLEY not allowed. Sounds like they may need to institute such a process if it is important for issues such as a major medical waste processing plant being built near a day care, a college and houses.
The permits are required for everything like this but they’ve repeatedly stated they aren’t going to be putting anything into the air or water. It’s just standard procedure. DEM and the company CEO said the equipment they have is a closed loop system.