Large-Scale Polluters in Philadelphia


Northwest Philadelphia

The City of Philadelphia opened the Northwest Incinerator in 1960 in the Roxborough/Manayunk area of Philadelphia, and for years after residents complained bitterly about smoke, odors, and flyash problems. The Northwest Incinerator was horribly mismanaged, with basic pollution prevention techniques and technology going unused.

In 1983, the Law Center partnered with the Germany Hill Civic Association and other community groups to stop violations of local, state, and federal environmental regulations and to investigate the facility’s operating and maintenance practices. While negotiations were in progress, our clients compelled EPA to thoroughly test the incinerator’s stack emissions for the first time to determine the extent problem at the Northwest facility, revealing dioxin emissions that far exceeded regulatory limits.

The City agreed in 1986 to a consent decree to close the facility in the long term and implement pollution prevention steps in the short term. The Consent Decree allowed community organizations special rights to oversee operations at the facility in order to guarantee the City conformed fully to the standards set in the agreement.

The City then decided to close the incinerator in 1989.