Get the Facts!


  • Covanta’s trash incinerator in Chester- also known as Delaware Valley Resource Recovery Facility- creates more air pollution and emits more particulate matter than any other such facility in the U.S., and is by far the largest. Exposure to particulate matter is known to cause cancer, asthma, decreased lung function, irregular heartbeats and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.
  • Incineration is the worst way to process trash and emit most pollutants at a greater rate than coal-fired power plants. It costs more money to produce energy from municipal solid waste than it does from most other sources.
  • Chester’s incinerator can burn up to 3,500 TONS of trash DAILY. Only 1.8% of the waste burned at Covanta is from Chester- a total 31% of the waste is from Delaware County – and the remaining 70% is brought in by truck or rail from NYC, New Jersey and Philadelphia. In 2014, Chester City Council approved the infrastructure to enable 20-30 years of trash trains from New York City to be burned in Chester, coming through Chester by train, then back into Chester by truck — up to 500,000 tons of trash each year!
  • A 2010 study, found that 38.5% of children in Chester have asthma, which is FIVE TIMES the national average, and 3x the state average. 25% of adults in Chester have asthma and are more likely to develop lung cancer, ovarian cancer and die from stroke or heart disease than other Delco residents.
  • Covanta’s incinerator in Chester has less pollution controls than nearly all other incinerators in the county. It lacks mercury and nitrogen oxide (NOx) control systems. Nitrogen oxide exposure is linked to a variety of respiratory illnesses including bronchitis, emphysema, chronic asthma, and other respiratory issues.  Covanta is the worse incinerator in the nation for particulate matter pollution.  Exposure to NOx and particulate matter cause increased deaths from COVID-19.
  • Covanta is also one of the worst lead polluters in the city. Lead poisoning can lead to cognitive delays, behavioral issues and seizures. Exposure to lead in childhood has been associated with increases in aggression, decreases in impulse control, and decreases in IQ. Studies have found that communities exposed to air pollution are more likely to have violent crimes.
  • 81% of Delco’s trash is incinerated at Covanta Chester. 17% is sent to Fairless Landfill in Bucks County, PA.