Read the full article by Diana Kruzman (Mahoning Matters)

“EAST LIVERPOOL — The city’s East End neighborhood is home to a hazardous waste incinerator with a checkered past.

For decades, the facility on the banks of the Ohio River — operated by Heritage Thermal Services, formerly known as WTI — has faced fines for violating federal air quality laws and accusations that its toxic emissions have damaged the health of the surrounding community. Now, the plant is working to burn hazardous waste sent by the U.S. military — a process that Alonzo Spencer, a local environmental activist, is doing all he can to stop.

Spencer’s organization, Save Our County, as well as several other community groups and the Sierra Club, a national environmental nonprofit, sued the federal government two years ago in an attempt to prevent hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic firefighting foam from being incinerated in facilities like the one in East Liverpool. That case may soon come before a judge in Youngstown as residents like Spencer try to find out exactly how much foam has been sent to their community and what the consequences might be.

‘Our community is going through these health problems,’ Spencer said. ‘And to have something like this thrown upon us […] just made it even worse.’

The suit, which was first filed in federal court in California in 2020 and moved to Ohio’s northern district late last year, accuses the U.S. Department of Defense of failing to conduct an environmental review before hiring the East Liverpool-based hazardous waste incinerator, Heritage Thermal Services, to dispose of the foam in 2019. As a result, the suit claims, burning the foam will harm communities like East Liverpool that ‘are already overburdened by pollution, both from those incinerators and from other industrial facilities.'”…