Covanta Delaware Valley, in the City of Chester, Pennsylvania, is the nation’s largest trash incinerator, burning up to 3,510 tons of municipal and industrial waste every day. They’re the largest air polluter in the 7-county Philadelphia region, and they operate without two of the four pollution control devices common to trash incinerators. Trash incineration, even with all of the normal pollution controls, is more polluting than coal power plants, and is worse than landfilling the waste directly. When burning trash, 30% of it becomes toxic ash that makes landfills more dangerous to groundwater. The other 70% becomes air pollution. The toxic ash from Covanta Delaware Valley is dumped in the Delaware County Solid Waste Authority’s Rolling Hills Landfill in Berks County, PA.
Covanta Delaware Valley has accepted waste from 21 Pennsylvania counties, 14 other states (as far as Oklahoma), Puerto Rico, and Canada. In 2019, 33% of their waste came from Philadelphia, 29% from Delaware County, 18% from New York (mostly Manhattan trash trains, routed through Delaware), 17% from New Jersey, 2.2% from Ocean City, MD, 1% from 5 other Pennsylvania counties, and tiny fractions of a percent from VA, NC, and CT. Learn more about Covanta’s waste contracts.