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CDC To Investigate Whether Sauget Incinerator Is Poisoning Air With Heavy Metal Emissions

Nov 20, 2019
The Center for Disease Control will conduct an investigation into pollution from the Veolia North American-Trade Waste Incineration facility in Sauget.
Joseph Bustos | Belleville News-Democrat

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will investigate whether a waste incinerator is poisoning people in Sauget.

A federal agency within the CDC is expected to announce Wednesday it will conduct a preliminary investigation into “potential health hazards” from pollution near the Veolia North America-Trade Waste Incineration facility.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry plans to determine if the Sauget incinerator is causing heavy metal poisoning.

Veolia's incinerator in Sauget, Ill.
File photo | Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

This story has been updated to include comments from the EPA.

The Environmental Protection Agency could loosen its requirement that an East St. Louis incinerator monitor its emissions for heavy metals that could be harmful to human health.

An illustration of pollution, 2017
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Environmental and faith groups are calling for the Environmental Protection Agency to increase air monitoring around a hazardous waste incinerator in East St. Louis.

(via Flickr/Matthew Black)

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District has unveiled exactly what it will be doing for its review of the St. Louis city water department.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 6, 2013 - Recently Mayor Slay’s administration sought to implement a contract with Veolia to evaluate the city’s water department. After protest, in part for Veolia’s work on the West Bank for the Israeli government, the firm withdrew its bid to work for St. Louis. However, this disjuncture should not negate the role of evaluation in enhancing effectiveness in local government.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Recently Mayor Slay’s administration sought to implement a contract with Veolia to evaluate the city’s water department. After protest, in part for Veolia’s work on the West Bank for the Israeli government, the firm withdrew its bid to work for St. Louis. However, this disjuncture should not negate the role of evaluation in enhancing effectiveness in local government.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated with additional quotes.

The French utility company Veolia has decided not to go forward with a $250,000 contract that would have reviewed the operations of the city of St. Louis water department.

Opponents of the company had raised questions about Veolia's corporate behavior and environmental record.

Mary Ellen Ponder, the deputy chief of staff to Mayor Francis Slay, announced the company's decision today at a committee hearing on a bill that would have stripped the funding for the contract from the budget for this year.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The chair of St. Louis city’s budget committee has launched an effort to strip the funding for a controversial consulting contract with the French utility company Veolia.

Opponents of a consulting contract for Veolia gathered Friday outside the Board of Aldermen chambers.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 20, 2013: After months of quiet, St. Louis may be on the brink of signing a contract to make Veolia Water North America a consultant to the city’s Water Department.

That's because the city counselor contends that the contract with the French-based company may not need approval from the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, the three-person body that has stood in the way of the measure's approval for months.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Opponents of a proposed $250,000 consulting contract between the city of St. Louis water department and the French utility company Veolia call the latest move in the saga by Mayor Francis Slay “political chicanery."

Matthew Black / Flickr

Detractors of a French utility company used a public hearing Tuesday night to again raise concerns about a potential consulting contract between St. Louis City’s Water Division and Veolia.

A key point of contention is whether or not the possible $250,000 agreement would open the door to privatizing the city’s water department.

Grace Morris is with Corporate Accountability International and said the company has a history of slowly taking over water services around the world.

(Courtesy of Colleen Kelly)

(Editors note: Scroll down for Veolia's response to this commentary)

Water is our most essential shared resource. The quality of our water relates directly to our health and the well-being of our city. 

Public reinvestment and political commitment to public water is critical. St. Louis does face real challenges. We need to address the declining population, increasing environmental management issues and especially our need to reinvest in our aging water infrastructure.  

Show Me Institute

Innovation comes from the private sector. You don’t have to be a radical capitalist to agree with that simple truth.  For example, a private inventor, not a government water company, devised the water meter.   St. Louis residents will benefit from the proposed consulting deal with a private company to improve the city’s water division.     

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 11, 2013 - In the quest to make a campaign issue out of what would normally be a routine consulting contract for St. Louis, the very real needs of the water division that prompted the city to issue a call for help are being overshadowed. Instead of meeting the city's needs, unsubstantiated allegations are trying to tarnish the reputation of the company that was selected to help. That's not good for ratepayers.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 20, 2013 - St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is continuing to postpone seeking any formal action on his proposal to hire Veolia Water North America as a consultant to the city’s Water Department, as his staff seeks to quell the continued controversy — which has an international twist.

Veolia would be bad news for St. Louis

Feb 19, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 19, 2013 - One of the issues that has been raised in the mayoral elections is a proposal for the city to have a French multinational named Veolia assess the city’s water department and recommend ways it could improve. Concerned citizens are bird-dogging candidates at every turn regarding a contract nobody had even heard of three months ago. So what’s all the fuss about?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 12, 2013 - Innovation comes from the private sector. You need not be a radical capitalist to agree with that simple statement. It is a plain truth. For example, a private inventor, not a government water company, invented the water meter. (Note: The water meter was invented 160 years ago, but St. Louis still has not universally adopted it.) City residents will benefit from the proposed consulting deal with a private company to improve the city’s water division.

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Opponents of a contract that asks Veolia North America to look for efficiencies in the St. Louis city water department could get a public hearing. 

Board of Aldermen president Lewis Reed announced today that he’ll ask an aldermanic committee to look into allegations of corporate misbehavior at the company, which is headquartered in France. His request would have to be approved by the entire board.

The move for public debate heartened Kathleen Logan Smith, the executive director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. 

(via Flickr/Matthew Black)

The city's top elected officials will wait to sign a contract that could help St. Louis save some money in its water division.