Submit Comments on Burning of Hazardous Waste in West Valley

open burning

A hazardous waste permit has been approved that would allow the continued open air burning of hazardous munitions wastes at the ATK Bacchus Facility – Naval Industrial Reserve Ordnance Plant (NIROP) in West Valley City. UPHE is in complete objection to this permit that would result in excessive risk to human and environmental health.

Additionally, a national coalition of 60 groups that make up the Cease Fire Campaign have formally submitted comments to Utah environmental regulators and the EPA in opposition to the approval of the permit:

“The State and the U.S. EPA have the opportunity and duty to impel the military and its contractors to utilize treatment technologies that protect workers, service members, and communities from exposure to toxic emissions caused by the open burning of munitions wastes,” said Laura Olah, National Coordinator for the Cease Fire Campaign. “No other industry is allowed to open burn its hazardous waste.”

Submit Public Comments via email to

The Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Controls is accepting public comment on the proposed hazardous waste permit until July 31, 2020. Unfortunately, a website it not provided to submit your public comments you and you must email (the instructions to make a public comment can be found here).

There are a wide range of technologies that have been developed that serve as safer and viable options. These options include alternatives that capture and treat toxic emissions rather than dispersing them directly to the environment. Why retreat back to the detrimental practices of open burning of hazardous waste when we know the severe and fatal consequences?

More information on the hazardous waste permit from the Cease Fire Campaign bellow:

The NIROP Burning Grounds consist of 17 burn pans and two burn cages where the U.S. Navy burns energetic and reactive hazardous wastes in the open air – causing an ongoing, uncontrolled release of toxic emissions to the environment.

The burned wastes contain perchlorate – a widespread groundwater contaminant associated with the Bacchus site. Perchlorate groundwater contamination has migrated several miles beyond the 10,000-acre plant property. In 2013, Utah DEQ reported that the contamination had been detected in drinking water wells.  Perchlorates are endocrine disruptors that affect the normal growth and development of infants and children.

The use of toxic chemicals known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in high energy-release pyrotechnic compositions is common in the space and Defense areas. PFAS are widely used in military flares and pyrogen igniters for igniting the solid propellant of rocket motors – once the principal wastes treated at the burning grounds. 

However, open burning and incineration do not destroy PFAS. Once released to the air as fugitive emissions, PFAS are carried far from the source area, contaminating the land and water resources. Often referred to as “forever chemicals,” PFAS persist in the environment for years, decades, or longer. Mounting research links PFAS to a wide range of health problems including kidney cancer and testicular cancer, as well as endocrine disruption in humans.