Lisa Letteney, the health department's director of environmental health assessment, said there has never been any evidence in the county's studies to cause concern for the welfare of residents. Without proof of any damage, some in the county feel it is unnecessary to waste money on the monitoring, Letteney said.
However, Baker and her fellow members on the DeWitt Town Board deal with the incinerator because of its location right along the town's border. Baker said that while the incinerator isn't located in DeWitt, the residents still put up with pollutants from the facility because the wind blows excess waste into their town.
"When the county built this incinerator they decided to pay the town of Onondaga - which is actually the town the incinerator sits in - $200,000 a year to not oppose the plant, or ever try to oppose it down the road," Baker said. "The town of DeWitt, we basically get the fallout."
The incinerator at OCRRA - which is not a county-funded institution - is also currently operating without a renewed permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which it was supposed to get in 2006.
Amy Miller, an agency engineer at OCRRA, said the agency went through with all the necessary actions to get its permit renewed, but has yet to hear back from the DEC. A public hearing was held a year ago, but still no word on when the five-year permit will be renewed.
"OCRRA and Covanta jointly submitted the renewal for the air permit to the DEC on time," Miller said. "We have been going through the regular process with the DEC. We prepared a permit, had a public comment period and we even had a public hearing last November. Basically, the DEC is still preparing its response to this."