September 2005

Loyola University to shut down medical waste incinerator

Maywood, IL— Loyola University Health System’s president and CEO Dr. Anthony L. Barbato announced in August that Loyola has signed an agreement with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to shut down the medical waste incinerator on the hospital’s Maywood campus.

Loyola voluntarily has agreed to permanently cease operation of the incinerator within five years.

Engineers at the hospital point out that during the transition, the incinerator will continue to maintain its strong record of compliance with Illinois’ emissions standards.

Last fall, an extensive audit that checked for levels of emissions including carbon monoxide, dioxins, particulates, and metals such as lead and mercury, found that Loyola’s emission levels are well below those allowed under its Title V Clean Air Act Permit.

Hospital officials already have begun exploring alternative waste-disposal options and are stepping up waste-reduction and recycling efforts in preparation for the incinerator’s shutdown. Loyola currently incinerates 4 million pounds of waste per year. It also recycles more than 645 tons of paper, cardboard and other materials each year.

The changeover will be costly. In addition to an initial capital investment to purchase equipment and technology for the new waste-disposal system, shutting down the incinerator is expected to increase Loyola’s operating costs by $500,000 annually.

“Waste energy” that had been generated by the incinerator and used to heat the hospital’s buildings will be lost as well.

Loyola has already invested more than $1 million in upgrades for the incinerator to ensure that it operates in compliance with IEPA guidelines. An emissions audit that the IEPA recommended last November cost the hospital an additional $30,000.

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