AG Files Suit Against Wallingford Trash-to-Energy Plant

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has filed a lawsuit against a Wallingford power plant accused of emitting excessive levels of the chemical dioxin.

Blumenthal said in a news release that this is the second violation in three years for Covanta Energy, a trash-to-energy plant.

“Our legal action follows a repeat environmental violation -- excessive emissions of toxic dioxin,” Blumenthal said. “Even following a settlement less than one year ago for a similar violation, Covanta again spewed unpermitted levels of dioxin into the air. While the company has cooperated by shutting down its faulty unit, my office must take action to ensure that future violations are prevented.”

The Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner issued Covanta a notice of violation on July 29 after testing at the company’s Wallingford facility revealed it was emitting dioxin more than two times greater than permitted levels from a units that has been shut down since July 2.

Blumenthal said the Department of Public Health and DEP reviewed and analyzed the ambient concentrations of dioxin associated with the violations and determined that the amount of dioxin in the ambient air did not exceed health standards.

The company has notified DEP that the emissions were due to a malfunction of their dioxin emissions control system in April. The company claims that it has repaired the system and plans to implement additional measures to prevent future emissions violations.

Blumenthal field the suit on behalf of DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella.

“The DEP is especially concerned over this violation of Covanta's permitted emissions limits because this is the second occurrence over a short period of time,” Marrella said in a news release.

In November 2009, Covanta agreed to pay a $355,000 settlement to the DEP for similar unpermitted dioxin emissions.

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