Large-Scale Polluters in Philadelphia


South Philadelphia

In 1984, the Law Center worked with South Philadelphia community groups concerned about health risks from proposed facilities for storing hazardous waste and incinerating waste in a trash-to-steam facility. Together, we helped channel the community’s strong opposition, based on concerns about trucking, odor, and toxic emissions.

Throughout the 1980s, the trash-to-steam plant was proposed, protested, and rejected, only to be proposed again by City officials. We helped organize countless public Hearings with the City Council and the U.S. Navy. Specifically, we sought stringent limitations on toxic emissions, predetermined remedies for violations, and the rights of community members to oversee the plant and enforce the law when the plant violated regulations.

In South Philadelphia, we also worked with community groups in 1989 to negotiate improvements to a sludge processing plant to stop repeated odor violations, and in 1998 we reached an agreement with Sun Refining requiring $5 million in plant improvements to reduce air pollution and securing $350,000 in community benefits.