Route 40 business seeks approval for metals furnace
— B&H Auto Parts on Route 40 is one step closer to gaining approval to operate a secondary aluminum sweat furnace on its property while getting relief from buffer requirements.
Rick Polansky, president of Complete Recycling Group, received a recommendation for approval of a special exception from the Cecil County Planning Commission on Monday, but the Cecil County Board of Appeals will make the final decision on his request after a hearing at their next meeting at 7 p.m. June 28 in the Elk Room of the County Administration
Building in Elkton.
Once he receives local zoning approval, Polansky still must meet all regulatory standards for air quality set by the Maryland Department of the Environment and the federal government, which he predicts could take up to a year, before he can operate the furnace.
Proponents and opponents weighed in during public comment Monday night.
Two people testified in favor of the proposal, along with 15 letters of support that were submitted, while five spoke against it and another five supported the opposition.
Earl Piner, an Elkton town commissioner, and Paul Granger, owner of a nearby business, supported the special exception, saying it’s good for economic development and will be up to MDE if it meets standards.
“We encourage Granger said.
One man spoke on behalf of his parents, who live across Route 40 from the proposed furnace operation.
“We want to be sure this operates accurately,” Daniel Goldstein said, noting he and his parents are concerned about potential carcinogens that could be emitted into the air.
“The letter we received about this raised red flags,” nearby property owner Martha Harris added. “We’re this,” for recycling, but we worry about cancer.”
There are 14 homes within 500 feet of the proposed furnace, including that of Mary K. Parks, who has lived nearby for 65 years and also raised concerns about possible carcinogens.
Cecil County Planning and Zoning staff also recommended approval of the request contingent upon all state and federal approvals.
Polansky explained that his family has been in the auto parts business since 1955 and have operated B&H Auto Parts since the early 1990s. Over the years, the business has evolved toward more and more recycling efforts.
Complete Recycling Group currently hauls scrap metal from B&H to an out-ofcounty processor to separate out aluminum for recycling, but this procedure is costly and time consuming, Polansky said. That’s why they want to do the processing inside their new 80-foot-by120-foot building along with a chimney stack and an afterburner, or a device that uses controlled flame combustion to convert air pollutants to less harmful substances.
The sweat furnace heats up to 1,600 degrees to melt away the aluminum from steel coming from scrap vehicles, and then it is poured into molds for resale use to manufacturers of car wheels or soda cans.
“This machine would allow us to upgrade the scrap material, create 10 to 15 new jobs and keep the business in Cecil County,” Polansky said. “The state of Maryland monitors this process daily and it is tested for emissions compliance.”
Attorney Karl Fockler, who represented Polansky at the planning commission Monday, said setbacks and other criteria for a hazardous waste incinerator, which burns about 2,200 degrees, are much more stringent, but, “This is not a hazardous waste incinerator.”
The B&H Auto Parts property, which is owned by Eric and Charmie Polansky, is already zoned M-2, or heavy industrial.
“This zoning allows processing of materials and recycling,” Fockler noted.
B&H Auto Parts is one step closer to zoning that would allow an aluminum sweat furnace for recycling purposes, though it faces some local concerns.