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Charlotte Area News

Matthews Incinerator To Restart Next Week

A shuttered medical waste incinerator in Matthews will temporarily restart next week, to the chagrin of nearby residents who spent 20 years trying to shut it down. It's not entirely clear why the incinerator will belch to life after nearly a year sitting idle. The current owner of the incinerator, MNC Holdings, couldn't be reached for comment. A consultant named Rich Geisser says he was hired to help restart the incinerator, but would say little about his client's intention. "The plan is to restart this next week and how long we want to run that's really up to (MNC Holdings)," said Geisser. "But while we're running, we needed to demonstrate - in accordance with our existing permit - compliance with the current air regulations, so we're going to be doing that as well." September 30, 2012 is the latest the incinerator will operate according to information MNC Holdings has provided to Mecklenburg County air quality regulators. The Matthews facility shut down last May after its parent company was acquired by Stericycle. The incinerator was spun off under a separate holding company because Stericycle didn't want it: the facility will require millions of dollars in upgrades to meet new air quality standards that take effect in October. Attempts to sell the site have been unsuccessful, but MNC Holdings may still be hoping for a sale. That would explain the sudden plan to restart the incinerator. Mecklenburg County Air Quality Director Don Willard says he can void the facility's permit if it sits idle for 18 consecutive months. Without that permit, the incinerator would be even less attractive to a buyer. Willard says MNC Holdings can reset the 18-month clock and keep its options open by firing up the incinerator - no matter how briefly.