DETROIT (FOX 2) - State Rep. Isaac Robinson wants to stop what he calls environmental injustice by demanding an investigation into potentially contaminated sites and abandoned property near the Detroit and Hamtramck border
"We are condemning EGLE for their assault on Detroit's east side," he said. "In December EGLE contracted with US Ecology which has a site on Georgia Street to store deadly killer PFAS."
The lawmaker is also upset that EGLE, the state's Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, would approve an expansion of the company's Georgia Street location.
He said the neighborhood already has too many abandoned homes that might be potentially contaminated with toxic materials.
"I discovered four or five other buildings with toxic waste containers, one of them is on a residential block," Robinson said.
"Dangerous, (you) don't know what you are breathing," said concerned resident Omer Abdi-Nur.
City officials tell FOX 2 that its building safety and environmental inspectors will be visiting the locations to investigate.
EGLE and U-S Ecology are responding to the concerns.
In a statement EGLE tells FOX 2:
"The PFAS-containing foam is temporarily stored at the US Ecology facility before shipping to Idaho, where it is disposed of, in a licensed hazardous waste landfill.
"Michigan remains a leader in removing sources of PFAS contamination from our water and EGLE is committed to preventing future contamination in our state."
US Ecology confirming that process also added:
"The services provided by our facility are part of the solution to the concerns some of our state's political leaders are seeking to address."
But this lawmaker has this message for EGLE and US Ecology:
"I have House Bill 4808 which would halt the expansion of all these toxic waste facilities," he said. "Let's put it on hold, we have enough toxic waste in Detroit and Wayne County."
The full statements are below:
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy currently has a contract with US Ecology in Detroit to collect firefighting foam as part of a pickup and disposal program across the state. The PFAS-containing foam is temporarily stored at the US Ecology facility before shipping to Idaho, where it is disposed of in a licensed hazardous waste landfill. Michigan remains a leader in removing sources of PFAS contamination from our water and EGLE is committed to preventing future contamination in our state.
US Ecology Statement:
The recent Detroit North permit renewal enables US Ecology to continue to provide vital waste management services to customers enabling safe and compliant handling of industrial waste materials and to assist with the cleanup of contaminated hazardous sites. This includes sites such as the one discovered on Miller Road, the green “ooze” on I-696, and many other sites across the state including those communities struggling with PFAS contamination. The services provided by our facility are part of the solution to the concerns some of our state’s political leaders are seeking to address. The Detroit North facility treats waste to comply with environmental regulations and safely and temporarily stores waste in preparation for transport offsite for final disposal. This is standard practice in the industry and is the purpose of the facility in support of protecting public health and the environment. The facility has not begun, and has no immediate plans to begin, construction on storage expansion. When initiated, the expansion would position the facility to be in line with the capabilities of similar facilities across the country (but will not be the largest in the country, as this morning’s press statement asserted).
It also should be noted that this site has not accepted radioactive TENORM waste for over four years per an ongoing agreement with the city of Detroit. This and other operational changes including redeploying trucks to reduce traffic in the neighborhood have been made to support business and community needs. We continue to seek open, honest, and constructive dialogue with the community to ensure we meet the needs of all stakeholders. We have been operating safely in the neighborhood for over 45 years and look forward to continuing to support the area with safe and responsible environmental services.