Chester Update – 5/2/97

  • There is still no word on Cherokee’s permit. The DEP must grant them approval before they can build and operate a contaminated soil remediation plant in Chester.
  • ThermalPure has stated publicly in the newspaper that they are trying to reopen. ThermalPure operates the largest infectious medical waste autoclave in the nation (in Chester right next door to the incinerator). Keep tuned.
  • American Ref-Fuel (who recently took over operation of the incinerator from Westinghouse) just gave the city of Chester a $1,000,000 interest-free loan. Hmmm…
  • American Ref-Fuel fired 63 people recently. Fourty of the 63 people fired were black. Thirty have filed legal complaints (source: April 11th article in Philadelphia Inquirer). One (black) person who worked at plant for 6 years was told he wasn’t qualified for the job. Whites are being promoted more often than black employees. A black man who was in management has been demoted and is now on tipping floor unloading trucks for less than he used to make. The plant’s staff is down and one worker expressed to Zulene that they don’t think plant is safe.When the plant was operated by Westinghouse, they had 103 employees. American Ref-Fuel stated that their workers are now split 75% white/25% minority. This is disputed by Chester Residents, since only there are only 5 black workers left. The city is 78-80% black and the incinerator’s community-host agreement says that 40% of employees hired need to be from Chester.The fired employees were not told why they were terminated. A bus has been seen transporting workers to the plant to run it. The vehicle’s plates are from NJ (American Ref-Fuel has plants in NJ and NY). All of the bussed in employees are white.American Ref-Fuel is a 50%-50% partnership between the 2nd largest waste hauler, Browning Ferris Industries (BFI) and Air Products (a chemical company).

Last modified: 2 May 1997