George County may be one step closer to having a medical waste processing facility in its Industrial Park. On a three to two vote, the George County Board of Supervisors agreed to amend the county’s solid waste plan to include the material produced by the facility. Supervisors Larry McDonald, Kelly Wright and Larry Havard voted in favor of the change. Supervisors Henry Cochran and Frankie Massey were opposed. Southern Environmental Services (SES) is looking to build a 10,000 square foot facility in the George County Industrial Park at a cost of $4 to $5 million, according to Michael Janus, with SES. The facility would employ 15 to 20 people, he told the supervisors on Monday, with salaries ranging from $30,000 to $100,000 per year. The facility would take County Solid Waste plan to accommodate medical waste facility in about 20 tons of medical waste per day and change the molecular structure of those materials into about one ton of fibrous “white fluff” material that could potentially be recycled as fertilizer or fuel. The immediate plan is to transport the white fluff to a landfill. District Four Supervisor Larry Havard told the Board he had spoken with the mayor of Covington, Tennessee, where SES already operates a similar facility. Havard said the mayor was very enthusiastic about the operation. The apparently claimed SES had become a good corporate citizen and was involved in community projects. SES is leasing part of a recycling facility the city owns and installing medical waste gasification equipment. Cochran asked Janus if SES had tried to put the proposed facility in other locations on the Coast. Janus said they had, but for various reasons had not been able to do so. “What do they know that we don’t know?” Cochran wondered. He said he was concerned about approving a project other people did not want. Massey told Janus he was bothered by the radius from which the material would come. The SES business plan proposes to draw medical waste from an area roughly from New Orleans to Pensacola and the Coast to Jackson. Massey said he was bothered by bringing “other people’s problems” to George County. Medical waste is broadly classified as any item that comes into contact with body fluids, according to Wikipedia. Specifically, it is any solid waste that is generated in the diagnosis, treatment or immunization of humans. This type of waste was once collected in special bags and plastic boxes in clinical settings and then disposed of like normal trash. However, this process was quickly found to spread diseases and viruses and potentially cause outbreaks. Medical waste may include paper towels, wipes, gloves used in procedures, syringes without needles, bandages, or dressings with small amounts of blood or fluids, catheters other material from medical care. Infectious medical waste includes identifiable tissue or body parts. Liquid medical waste includes larger quantities of blood or fluids. Common generators (or producers) of biomedical waste include hospitals, health clinics, nursing homes, emergency medical services, physician offices, dentists, veterinarians, home health care and funeral homes. SES proposes to collect 20 tons of medical waste daily from within a 250-mile radius with a fleet of specialized trucks. Medical waste is put into special containers at the source. It would be transported to the proposed George County facility and treated through a high temperature gasification process, reducing its volume by about 90 percent, and transformed into products such as fertilizer. The sterilized carbon-rich white fluff is a by-product of the process. The gases produced, hydrogen, carbon monoxide and water vapor are released into the atmosphere. The county solid waste plan will be amended to accommodate the production of the white fluff, but SES still has several hurdles to overcome. A public notice of the company’s intent to locate here will be published and then a public meeting will be scheduled, along with a period in which public comments will be collected. MDEQ must then issue permits, including an air quality permit. SES is an environmental services company providing a variety of specialized hazardous waste materials clean-up and handling services in the northeastern part of the U.S. and in Texas. The company already op

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