by Kara Lopp
Medical-waste processor is closing
A medical-waste incinerator Stallings residents fought to shut down has shut its doors for good, as the owner said he would likely sell the facility.
Lewis Renfro, manager of MNC Holdings LLC, sent a letter to Mecklenburg County Air Quality last week stating the company “ceased operations” May 6 and is in the process of “decommissioning the site formerly known as BMWNC and then owned by Cincinnati-based Healthcare Waste Solutions.
The announcement follows a letter from company CEO Joseph Mayernik in March that said closing and selling the facility is one option the company was considering after a January ruling by the N.C. Environmental Commission will force the incinerators to comply with stricter federal air quality guidelines well before the state-adopted deadline of July 1, 2013. Necessary upgrades to the company were estimated at $2 million to $5 million.
Lake Forest, Ill.-based Stericycle bought the Cincinnati-based Healthcare Waste Solutions in April for $237 million, according to a news release from Stericycle. The incinerator was to be the only facility Healthcare Waste Solutions was to own with MNC Holdings LLC operating the facility at 3250 Campus Ridge Road.
MNC Holdings officials didn’t return messages by press time.
The closing announcement is good news for area residents, said Catherine Mitchell, spokeswoman for the nonprofit Citizens for a Healthy Environment, the local chapter of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.
“We are very pleased. It’s sort of collective sigh of relief,” she said. “It’s a good development and our job at this point is to pay close attention to the clean-up of the site and the surrounding area.”
The group has already started soil testing in neighborhoods around the incinerator.
“There is a danger of people decide ‘OK, it’s fixed,’ but what we know so far there is contamination out there and it is important to know what is out there, what we’re looking at and the level of contamination and the effect its had over the years. The whole site itself needs to be looked at as whole.”