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Ashes Arriving at EC Waste Have Double Use

By on November 28, 2016

BY ANGELIQUE M. FRAGOSO QUIÑONES (Es Noticia)

PEÑUELAS (CyberNews via Es Noticia)—The ashes that the EC Waste landfill does not use to solidify liquid wastes are discarded in the landfill like any other industrial material, Jaime Jaen, the company’s vice president of collection and engineering, has admitted.

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René Rodríguez, manager of environmental protection, health and safety at EC Waste (Photo: Cybernews via Es Noticia)

The information came to light during a tour that EC Waste management carried out Sunday to show the landfill’s operations to reporters.

The tour did not include the area where the ashes are mixed with the liquids, but only where the solid waste is disposed.

However, the tanks in which the company stores the ashes before mixing them with the liquid waste where located just a few meters away, it was reported.

The entrance to the landfill was free of protesters. Instead, there were only three patrols in high alert. Later, at the landfill’s entrance, the company’s security guard made sure that anyone who would access the facilities was duly registered and authorized.

After 15 minutes of driving on a road full of potholes, journalists were taken to a room where EC Waste managers and employees performed a Power Point presentation and showed a video of the operations at the landfill.

After the explanation, there was still the question of whether the ashes were used only to solidify liquids or to dispose of them, due to the sheer number of trucks with ashes that arrived at the location last week.

There are several types of ash generated by the Applied Energy Systems (AES) coal plant that re later disposed at the landfill. They are divided into “fly ash” (light ash), “bottom ash” (heavy ash) and its combination (Agremax).

Company representatives stressed that fly ash should not be confused with Agremax, which was what the company received last week.

The fly ash is a much lighter ash (like talc) and with a higher level of absorption, which makes it more suitable for solidifying liquid wastes.

Meanwhile, the Agremax ash is chiefly used for construction. “We also use it in the same way, for (industrial liquids that arrive to be deposited in the landfill) exclusively, “said René Rodríguez, manager of environmental protection, health and safety at EC Waste.

“The absorption properties of the Agremax are far weaker than those of fly ash and bottom ash,” Rodríguez said. “(The Agremax) can also be disposed of directly (at the landfill). We are authorized to dispose of them directly,” he added.

When questioned whether there were any ashes that were not used to solidify liquid waste, Jaen responded that “all the ash that is received is used to solidify liquid.”

When questioned further about the high number of trucks bringing Agremax to the facility, ostensibly more than could ever be used to solidify liquids at the site, Jaen replied that in the case of Agremax, it has two different uses.

“In addition to being used to solidify, the Agremax is also used as final disposal … some of that material is simply being disposed of as if it were simply buried in the land within the landfill,” Jaen went on to explain.

The visit comes a week after dozens of demonstrators were arrested for trying to prevent the entrance of ash trucks coming from the AES company.

Environmentalists insist on the damage that the disposal of coal ash can bring to public health. Meanwhile, EC Waste and AES insist that they meet the levels of toxicity allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Environmental Quality Board (EQA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and that there is no harm to the environment because they comply with the regulations for working with this type of material.

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