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Matthews incinerator in violation of air quality standards

A controversial medical waste incinerator in Matthews will face civil penalties for air quality violations inspectors announced this week. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: The owner of the incinerator - a company called BMWNC - has applied for another five year permit to burn medical waste. As a result, Mecklenburg County Air Quality Director Don Willard says his inspectors have been making additional surprise visit to the incinerator. On March 30, they saw smoke. "When it's operating correctly you should never see smoke coming out of there," says Willard. But they did. And when they went back on April 9 they saw smoke again and smelled a bad odor. People who live near the medical waste incinerator say smoke and nasty smells are common, but it's been at least three years since Mecklenburg County Air Quality officials have been able to verify those claims. Willard says BMWNC has already addressed some of the problems raised by the notice of violation issued this week. But he says the county is requiring BMWNC to improve its recordkeeping. "We want them to have instruments and devices put in place that ensure that when we're not there we can go back and check so we can assure the public they are operating in compliance all the time when they're in operation," says Willard. BMWNC will have to pay a fine, but the amount has yet to be determined. The violation will also reflect on BMWNC's current effort to renew its operating permit as the only medical waste incinerator in Mecklenburg County.