BOISE -- People in northwest Boise are expressing concern about a possible waste-to-energy facility set to be built at the Ada County landfill. They say the idea of turning trash into energy is great, but not if it means polluting their air. The company that is building the facility says there's nothing to worry about and their technology is safe.
Close to two years ago, Ada County entered into an agreement with Dynamis Energy (an Eagle Company), to build a gasification facility that would turn household trash into energy. But neighbors aren't too happy about it.
Andre Gensburger lives just over the hill from where the facility to supposed to be built. "So there's concerns as far as exactly what's coming out and how far it's going to come down," said Gensburger.
All the neighbors we talked to are concerned about the possible health risks.
Neighbors like Ken Lamkin worry that their families, or anyone remotely close to the area, might breathe in carcinogens produced by the facility. "It's not just here in Hidden Springs, it's all along the Boise front," said Lamkin. "Depending on which way the wind is blowing on a given day, you could be affected in Caldwell, Nampa, you just don't know, and they just can't tell us."
Dynamis has given a permit application to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, which cites 15-year case studies that show that similar equipment doesn't produce harmful emissions, and the only residue will be neutral ash.
But, that's similar equipment that operates on a smaller scale than Ada County's facility, which would process more than 400 tons of trash a day.
Neighbors say they just want more information before ground is broken, perhaps this summer.
"Bottom line, it may well be a sound technology, but how about showing us that?" said Gensburger. "So that we don't have to worry 10 years down the road that the cancer rates in town are going to skyrocket and our properties are going to be worth a dollar-fifty. Because we can't do anything at that point. Right now we can do something. We can be heard."
Speaking of being heard, many of the people running for the Ada County commissioners' seats will be at a 'Meet the Candidates' event Thursday night at River Glen Junior High School. It will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Right now, the DEQ is reviewing their permit application and holding a public comment period which will end May 21.
A representative from Dynamis was not available for comment for this story.