Monday, November 20, 2023, 5:30 pm
Cohoes Senior Center
10 Cayuga Plaza, Cohoes, New York

Lights Out Norlite will hold a news conference at the Center at 5:30 PM

NYS DEC Hearing starts at 6 PM

Everyone is invited to attend and plan to make a brief statement at the 6 PM hearing


Please RSVP if you can attend and hopefully testify

Read the scope of the hearing at DEC Hearing Notice.


It is not a hearing on the overall operation of the facility



Written comments must be postmarked by Wednesday, November 22, 2023.

Mailed to:

Administrative Law Judge Michael S. Caruso, 

DEC’s Office of Hearings and Mediation Services, 1st Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY, 12233-1550,


emailed to ALJ Caruso at by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 22, 2023.

Background Information for this Hearing:

The sole issue in the hearing is whether Norlite should now be required to comply with the law that requires the ash from its air pollution system to be disposed of at a certified hazardous waste facility. 

The exemption that allowed Norlite to avoid complying with this requirement was ended in April 2020. DEC has now begun the process to bring Norlite into compliance even though its expired permit had included the exemption. 

Three years after the law was changed, DEC finally began an enforcement action against Norlite on August 31, 2023, to make Norlite comply with the changes. Norlite has objected, so now DEC has begun a public review process. Norlite Public Comment Hearing


Norlite is not Complying with State and Federal Laws on the Handling of Its Toxic Waste Ash

Norlite mixes the toxic ash from the pollution control equipment with its aggregate product (from shale) and sells it as a product to the building industry called “block mix.” Such products erode over time. For instance, roads need to be reconstructed, or repaired, and the old road debris that needs to be removed contains elevated levels of toxic substances. Norlite stores block mix in massive, uncovered piles, which seep into the water and soil, and blow all over as fugitive dust. (There are even more massive piles of aggregate product, which contains carcinogenic silicates.)



This hearing does not directly address the other dust that Norlite produces from its aggregate production process, where shale is burnt in the incinerator. The Attorney General is currently suing Norlite for creating a public health problem and nuisance, largely because of this fugitive dust.


Talking Point 1: Fly ash is a hazardous material produced by Norlite.

The incineration of hazardous waste produces fly ash, flue gas emission control waste, and slag (collectively referred to as “ash” here). Toxic ash may contain chemicals and heavy metals such as arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, and nickel, which are all potentially toxic to humans and are known to cause or contribute to cancer, lung and heart ailments, liver and kidney damage, neurological damage, and premature mortality. Local residents are exposed to dust from massive piles of both aggregate and ash.

Toxic ash may also contain mineralogical toxins such as fine crystalline silica when the feedstock to the industrial process contains silica. Fine particulate crystalline silica induces silicosis when inhaled and is a known respiratory health risk. 

It is also a World Health Organization Group 1 respiratory carcinogen. 


Hazardous waste ash may be inhaled and become lodged in the deepest parts of the human respiratory system, leading to potentially fatal inflammation and immunological reactions. NYS Attorney General alleges that Norlite emits 56 tons of fugitive dust into the surrounding community every year. This dust comes from the block mix pile, as well as from enormous piles of aggregate (which contains carcinogenic silicates).


While the industry can dispute how dangerous it is to mix these hazardous materials with other building products, state and federal regulators have determined that it is unsafe for the environment and public health.


Other Key Talking Key Points

Norlite is a major public health and environmental problem for Cohoes residents, and the surrounding region, and should be shut down. NYS Department of Health data shows that there is a respiratory cancer cluster near Norlite. Norlite is certainly a likely contributor to the problem.


DEC has once again failed NYS residents by allowing Norlite to keep selling its hazardous ash, mixed into its products when the law was changed in 2020. It must act now.


1. The law is the law

Norlite should be required to dispose of any hazardous waste as the law requires. Why should Norlite be granted an exception? The permit should require Norlite to dispose of toxic ash and waste as the law requires.


2. Significantly reduce the toxic industrial process by-products easily by excluding the burning of hazardous waste

I oppose any inclusion of any toxic material as part of any Norlite products and I do not support any industrial process that allows toxic ash to be created.


3. The products that Norlite sells, the block mix, and other products contain toxic material

If Norlite transports this toxic material in a truck with a canvas cover, how much will be lost during transportation? Who will be exposed to that lost toxic material? How far will it spread?


4. How many people will be exposed to the toxic dust? 

If the toxic material is part of a product, the product is part of building materials, and the building material is part of a building or house, workmen will need to cut it for installation or demolish it for removal.  I oppose any relaxation of laws to allow toxic ash to be included in any product.


5. Can the DEC, Norlite, or the Courts guarantee that the Norlite toxic ash material found in any downstream products will not be the basis of any toxic exposure?

Resulting illness and follow-up medical treatment and legal claims to alleviate? I oppose any toxic material being allowed in Norlite products.


6. I reject any legal allowance to permit Norlite to combine toxic material in any product

The Norlite burning permit should clearly state that no toxic material can be sold by Norlite.


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