The fight against the Romulus Hazardous Waste Injection Wells continue



The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are currently seeking public comment as part of the permitting process to re-open the Romulus Hazardous Waste Injection Wells that will inject 400,000 gallons of hazardous waste under pressure into the earth every day.

The agencies are planning two public information sessions and a public hearing on the matter. The information sessions will be at 10 a.m. to noon and from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, May 16.  The public hearing will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17. All meetings and the public hearing will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 8000 Merriman Road in Romulus.

Communities in the Downriver area have been fighting the wells for 20 years, and since Environmental Disposal Systems bought 15 acres on Citrin Drive, south of I-94 and west of Inkster Road, and built the facility with two wells in 1997.

There has been so much interest that buses are available to transport residents from the Taylor and Romulus Senior Centers to the public hearing.  Anyone interested in utilizing these services is encouraged to call Romulus Mayor Alan Lambert’s office at 734-942-7500 or Taylor Mayor Jeffery Lamarand’s office at 734-374-1449. A bus will leave the William D. Ford Senior Citizens Activity Center, 6750 Troy in Taylor, at 6 p.m. A bus will leave the Romulus Senior Center, 36525 Bibbins St., at 6:30 p.m. Both buses will return to the pick-up point after the public hearing.

The wells opened on Dec. 27, 2005, and operated for 10 months before they were shut down because the DEQ found an above-ground leak on a routine inspection. They remain shut. At the time, the wells were owned and operated by Birmingham-based EDS. Estimates are that about 1 million gallons of waste were pumped into the wells during the 10 months.

Greektown restaurateur Jim Pappas is trying to secure the necessary permits to re-open the former EDS injection well.  In a letter addressed to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, and Rep. Doug Geiss, D-Taylor, asked for further investigation into Pappas’ role in a bribery and extortion case involving former Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers and political consultant Sam Riddle.

You may recall that as part of federal plea agreement, Riddle admitted to conspiracy to commit bribery and extortion with respect to Pappas providing $20,000 for favorable treatment in attempts to purchase the hazardous waste injection wells once run by EDS in Romulus. The letter seeks clarification from the AG as to whether there was any wrong doing on the part of Pappas for actually paying the $20,000.

“I’m asking the Attorney General to determine if Mr. Pappas illegally obtained preferential treatment in his attempt to purchase the site and receive permits to resume operations,” Hopgood said in a press release. “It’s important that we have all the facts before the permitting approval process moves any further.  This site already has a troubled past, we can’t put residents at any further risk.”

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