Elcon scraps plan for controversial wastewater plant in lower Bucks County

  • Zachariah Hughes/WHYY

Emma Lee / WHYY

Amanda Vendetti of Tullytown and other Lower Bucks County residents line up to ask questions of DEP officials about a toxic waste recycling and storage facility proposed for Falls Township, Pa.

The company behind a controversial plan to build a hazardous wastewater treatment plant in lower Bucks County announced it is dropping its bid. Opponents of the proposed Elcon Recycling Services project cheered the move, saying it’s the culmination of a years-long campaign to stop the industrial operation from going forward.

In a letter sent Thursday to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Elcon CEO Dr. Zvi Elgat said the company, which is based in Israel, will not proceed with the plant.

“The current business climate, including the impacts of COVID-19, has forced Elcon to re-evaluate its plans for expanding its hazardous waste treatment business into the United States,” Elgat wrote.

The facility was designed to treat wastewater from different hazardous industries, including pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing. For years, residents around the proposed site in Falls Township said the project presented major environmental risks, given its proximity to the Delaware River, which provides drinking water in the region, and would further degrade poor air quality.

The company is not ruling out a similar project down the road, though it provided no specifics.

“It is entirely possible that Elcon will seek to expand its treatment business into the U.S at some point in the future, especially if the U.S increases pharmaceutical manufacturing in response to COVID-19,” Elgat said.

The withdrawal notice led DEP to terminate all environmental reviews connected with the company’s application.

“We’re definitely thankful,” said Lise Baxter, co-founder of Protect Our Water and Air, a group that has fought the Elcon plant for nearly five years.

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