Letter to the Editor: In response to the article printed April 28

Sheida Sahandy, Chief Sustainability Officer, Encina

In response to the article printed April 28, “Students work to halt construction of recycling plant along Susquehanna River,” I request that you publish the entirety of the response that was submitted.

In April, members of Encina attended a discussion to provide an overview of our technology that transforms waste plastic that would be destined for a landfill or incineration, into that of high-value recycled chemicals that can be used to make new plastics for critical uses. The meeting was also to discuss future workforce needs and opportunities for area graduating college students to collaborate and facilitate potential employment opportunities.

The discussion evolved into a broader conversation related to our proposed facility, including concerns about our operations and proximity to the Susquehanna River. We welcomed the opportunity to discuss these aspects of our project despite being uninformed that other students and faculty would be present with their own list of topics that fell outside of those on the original agenda.

The facts and tone of the article published portrayed Encina as unprepared and unwelcoming to your students – neither of which are accurate. As said in the meeting, Encina will continue to be open and transparent about who we are, our technology, and our commitment to protecting the environment.

As a principle of your publication’s journalistic responsibility to report the facts, I ask that you publish the above and the original Encina response.

Our vision at Encina is for a future in which nothing is wasted. We care about the protection of our natural resources and understand that the Susquehanna River is a critical link to the health of the area’s regional ecosystem and environment. Our common goal of a more sustainable future extends to the design and operation of our Point Township facility. We’re taking several steps to ensure the protection of both the Susquehanna and our surrounding environment.

Our team takes seriously the responsibility of safely handling the materials that we will be manufacturing. We strongly believe manufacturing and industrial facilities must be held to the highest standards to protect the health and safety of the public and the environment. The Point Township facility will be in strict compliance with all rules and regulations in place for preventing air, water, and noise pollution.

Protecting the area’s water system is a top priority for us. Our manufacturing process will involve the withdrawal of an average of 2.5 million gallons of water a day from the Susquehanna, 60 to 70 percent of which will be returned. For reference, daily withdrawals from the Susquehanna River for civic uses are stated to be around 400 million gallons per day according to the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Effective water management is an essential part of our vision of a future in which nothing is wasted, so we have partnered with energy management experts for the design of an integrated wastewater treatment system. Our experienced partners bring extensive knowledge in water treatment, especially when involving plastics, and the design and operation of effective systems on the Susquehanna River.

Our water treatment and management plans will include continuous monitoring and testing at outfalls to measure required parameters to stay within permissible levels. This will include testing for temperature, dissolved oxygen, chlorine, pH, conductivity, total dissolved solids, total hardness, sodium, silica, nitrogen, phosphates, and metals. Our system is expected to filter and remove materials as small as bacteria. By many measures, we will be returning the water back to the river at a higher level of quality than when it was removed. These systems, in combination with our strict compliance with all regulatory health and safety requirements at the federal, state, county and municipal levels will ensure that nothing leaves the facility through air or water or other means.

Finally, it’s important to note the critical role that effective recycling technologies are playing on both global and local levels. Technologies like Encina’s and our proposed site build will not only reduce waste, they will also revitalize the local community. Our investment of $1.1 billion to build the Encina Circular Manufacturing Facility is just the beginning. The construction and operation of this facility are projected to inject more than $2.1 billion into the local and state economies over the next five years.

The Susquehanna River is a cherished source for recreation, tourism, and the health of the area’s ecosystem and environment. Our goal is to ensure it remains such for years to come.

Sheida Sahandy, Chief Sustainability Officer, Encina

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