Thursday, September 10, 2015

Two days left to comment on Detroit hazardous waste facility’s expansion

Posted By on Thu, Sep 10, 2015 at 2:26 PM

When a neighboring business plans for an expansion, it isn’t always cause for rejoicing.

That’s a delicate way to put the news that US Ecology, a hazardous waste facility on Detroit’s east side, wants to enlarge its operation. The company, headquartered in Boise, Idaho, is seeking to build new tanks and storage buildings at the Detroit plant.

The facility is located on Georgia Street, off Mount Elliott, and is almost a block away from any houses. But that’s not far enough away for critics who are alarmed by the proposed expansion.

Critics include State Rep. Rose Mary C. Robinson, who charges that the facility currently accepts radioactive fracking waste from Pennsylvania. The company’s application with Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality would seem to suggest otherwise, but the list of substances treated or stored on Georgia Street looks anything but appetizing: heavy metals, sludge, pickle liquor, cyanide, hydrochloric acid, even wastes containing low levels (less than 50 ppm) of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The facility is also a half-mile from the densest urban area in Michigan: Hamtramck. It’s also located less than a mile from several churches and mosques, about a quarter mile from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, and less than 1,500 feet from Crockett High School. Also, the additional waste would stream into the plant via local roads and highways; an accident could end up being a costly hazmat situation.

Robinson said: “Detroit should not be the dumping ground and storage site for hazardous waste from across the country,” said Robinson, and urged residents to raise the issues with MDEQ, which has extended its public comment period until Saturday.

To submit a public comment, residents may contact Richard A. Conforti at or by phone at 517-284-6558. More information on US Ecology’s request can be found here.

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