SL County asks gov. to shut down Stericycle

Posted at 9:26 PM, Oct 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-08 23:26:56-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Stericycle is back in the spotlight. Salt Lake County is now pushing for the medical waste facility in North Salt Lake to shut down or move out and they're calling on the governor to do something about it. The County Council is sending Gov. Gary Herbert a letter, asking him to investigate.

Salt Lake County now joins what's becoming a long list of people and organizations asking for action. One councilman compares Stericycle to a meth lab.

"Today we voted to send a letter to Governor Herbert on half of all citizens of Salt Lake County, said Salt Lake County Councilman Sam Granato.

A letter is now on its way to the governor.

"We are concerned that the Stericycle facility may not be in compliance with state air quality laws ...and we cannot ignore the fact that emissions from Stericycle's incinerator can travel many miles and significantly impact the air quality and safety of Salt Lake County residents...we respectfully request that you investigate this issue and take appropriate action," the letter states.

"There are toxins and pollutants, it's like having a meth lab next door we don't want in our neighborhood, we really don't want it in the state," Granato said.

Salt Lake County has become part of a growing group, made up of Foxboro residents and local environmental groups, demanding change. North Salt Lake's mayor has also come forward in support of moving Stericycle and one Utah lawmaker wants to make incineration illegal.

"We have great momentum, we already had Erin Brokovich join us, other councils join us, Salt Lake County is a huge accomplishment for them to go to the governor -- we've attempted to go to the governor we've asked for them to shut down, now we have other people saying this is important," said Alicia Connell, former Foxboro resident.

"When it comes to Stericycle, the governor is concerned about their previous violations and holds the Department of Environmental Quality accountable for holding Stericycle accountable," said Ally Isom who is Governor Herbert's spokesperson.

Isom added that city and county government have some control over Stericycle's fate too.

"It really underscores that the local officials have a significant amount of say in this,” she said. “They're the ones who control zoning and operating permits, so there is a role in local government to own the situation as well."

North Salt Lake already rezoned Stericycle's property and their permit is under review by the Division of Air Quality. The governor has yet to receive Salt Lake County's letter. It's unclear if Herbert has the executive authority to shut down Stericycle.

Stericycle has yet to return Fox 13's phone calls and emails regarding this story.