Bethlehem Renewable Energy (BRE) requested a “Zoning Special Exception” to the Lower Saucon Township Council regarding hazardous waste storage on the property. BRE would like to put two tanks on the property to collect hazardous water being released from the plant. Once the tanks are filled with water, the waste will be removed and treated at a separate facility.
According to BRE representatives, the plant will be taking methane gas out of the water to use for energy and will then be disposing the water to the tanks.
BRE has previously sent the waste to the Bethlehem Sewage Treatment Plant, but has since been unable to do so. According to a City Analysis, on February 9, 2012 several pollutants were found in the water disposed of by BRE including arsenic, mercury, oil and grease, total petroleum, hydro carbon, by plural benzene, benzene, chloral benzene, ethyl benzene, ketone, tulane, and zylene. According to the analysis, 22 violations were found in total, the sewage plant had to be evacuated, and BRE was fined $45,000 because all of the pollutant limits were over the acceptable limits of the Treatment Plant.
According to BRE representatives, the water that will now be distributed into the tanks is not defined as “hazardous waste”. They continued by stating that there will be “no need for hazardous waste clean up if there is a leakage from either tank.” They explained that the tanks will have a double wall leak preventive system to help keep the water contained in the tanks.
Council chose not to take any action regarding this request, so BRE will now go on to present their request to the Zoning Board at their next meeting on March 18th.