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Conn. plant meets its limits

A Sterling, Conn., tire-burning plant that began operation in 1991 had some initial problems but now meets state pollution limits, according to officials at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

The plant, like the proposed Heartland Energy and Recycling plant planned for Preston, is in a small, rural town and would burn about 10 million tires a year to produce energy as well as produce ash and scrap metal, they said.

Unlike Heartland, it puts whole tires into the burner and uses a reciprocating grate system; Heartland would chip its tires into small pieces and use a "fluidized bed combustor system."

Gary Rose, director of engineering and technology services in Connecticut's Bureau of Air Management, said the fluidized bed system "is definitely one of the technologies that you would consider" if building a new plant.

The Bureau of Air Management checks stack emissions four times a year and makes other checks, said Patrick Bowe, director of the air compliance and field operations division. The Exeter plant passes them, he said.

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"Basically, we have no activity going on there in the recent past with any enforcement issues," Bowe said.

In the past, there were some problems with emissions because some tires were being left outside and got ice or rain in them. When they were put into the burner, they caused some problems. Tires are now stored so they don't get water in them, Bowe said.

Rose, Bowe and Ross Bunnell, a sanitary engineer with the Waste Engineering and Enforcement Division, said they are not aware of any other tire-burning plants being proposed for their state.

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