1. Archive

Residents favor tighter rules on incinerators

Pinellas County's plan to tighten regulations on biomedical waste incinerators won widespread support Tuesday from residents who attended a public hearing.

The proposed change in zoning laws would require public hearings, a half-mile buffer from residential areas and commission approval for new incinerators. At least one person at the County Commission hearing said those proposals are not enough.

"You should be studying the possibility of putting a moratorium on building more incinerators in this county," said Harry Neilands of St. Petersburg. "We already have pollution in the bay. We don't need any more."

The dozen or so incinerator opponents who attended the public hearing Tuesday night also heard that Pinellas County's rule on incinerators would not apply inside city limits, including St. Petersburg, where residents are fighting against a downtown incinerator.

The county's proposal followed complaints that a planned biomedical waste storage plant and incinerator near Largo was approved by state and local officials without substantive notice to the public. Neighbors have challenged a state environmental permit issued before a two-year moratorium on incinerators was adopted.

The county proposal had its detractors. Alex Burns of Life Sciences, a biomedical waste facility on 72nd Street N in St. Petersburg, said, "A storage facility is innocuous if it's operated according to the state's current standards."


Up next:Q&A