Storey County May Approve a Medical Waste Incinerator at TRIC 

On Thursday, July 16, the Storey County Board of Commissioners will consider approval of a special use permit to allow construction of a medical waste incinerator at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, a burgeoning technology center where the Tesla Gigafactory, Google, Blockchains, Switch and numerous other businesses are located.

The incinerator would be constructed directly adjacent to Milan Pond, which serves as a primary water source for hundreds of  Virginia wild horses who call the area home. 


The meeting will be held on Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 6 pm via Zoom. 

The medical waste incinerator,  proposed by Stericycle, an international medical waste disposal company, would burn “pathological streams” such as used needles, bloodied gauze, personal protective equipment, trace chemotherapy,  pharmaceuticals and sensitive paperwork for the medical industry. 

The company's incineration facility in North Salt Lake Utah was closed last year after being cited for air pollution-related violations. 

Last year, Stericycle’s incineration facility in North Salt Lake City, Utah, closed amidst community and environmental opposition and the Utah Division of Air Quality fined the company $2.3 million for air pollution-related violations. Among the concerns were Stericycle’s use of a bypass stack to release unfiltered toxic pollutants like dioxin and mercury directly into the air. 

Stericycle was pursuing a permit to build a medical waste incinerator in the Las Vegas area, but dropped those plans in December 2019 and now seeks to build it in northern Nevada.

Attend the meeting via Zoom on Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 6 pm. 

Storey County staff have recommended that the Planning Commission vote to approve Stericycle's application for special use permit to construct the incinerator. The Commission will discuss the project (and potentially vote to approve it) at its meeting on Thursday.

Please ask the Planning Commission and County Commissioners to delay voting on the special use permit for the incinerator in order to allow time for the public to review the staff report on the project and to address concerns and questions about the project.

Questions and concerns include:

  • How does the waste get transported to the incinerator?
  • What kind of traffic does it create? ( ESPECIALLY on Milan Drive which has a low speed limit and a high level of horse crossings.)
  • What are the specifics of the incinerator discharge and air quality, including drift of the plume? 
  • Where AND how will the ash be stored?
  • Is there risk to groundwater? (especially concerning because the incinerator would be directly adjacent to Milan Pond, a key water source for wild mustangs.)
  • How frequently will unfiltered toxic pollutants be released into the air through a bypass stack?  Will generators be required to prevent release of toxins in event of electrical failure? 
  • Does Nevada or Storey County require reporting of unplanned discharge incidents?
  • How will Storey County protect the health of the employees who work at TRIC and the wild mustangs, bighorn sheep and other animals who live in the area? 
  • Will Storey County inform its citizens of Stericycle's history of record of compliance with state and federal air pollution regulations, including its past record in neighboring Utah? 
  • Stericycle was issued a notice of violation in Utah. The company was assessed an initial fine of $2.3 million by the Utah Division of Air Quality. How do we assure those violations won't happen here?
  • Why does the Storey County Planning Commission think this is an appropriate land use at TRIC, where 16,000 employees work and where residential development is planned? 
  • What mitigations are planned to minimize impacts to public health, road safety, wild horses and other wildlife?