Romulus site that received hazardous waste from Ohio train derailment had violations

Hazardous waste brought to 2 Michigan locations

As outrage grows over hazardous waste from an Ohio train derailment brought into Michigan, Local 4 is learning more about the history of the sites where the waste was brought.

That waste from the Palestine, Ohio, derailment was brought to two different sites, one in Van Buren Township and the other in Romulus. The Romulus site has a history of violations.

The Romulus Republic injection well is licensed for hazardous waste disposal, and operations are required to be conducted indoors. The facility is regulated by both EGLE and the EPA.

Read: Officials want to know why toxic waste from Ohio train derailment was sent to Michigan

It was July of last year when an inspection by EGLE found inadequate waste identification and labeling, liquid containment modification without permit, facility inspection requirements were not met, and improper tank system requirements. There were no releases to the environment.

A follow-up investigation in October of last year determined the violations were addressed -- but not all of them.

Just this January, an inspection identified hazardous waste violations related to container labeling and alarm system function, both of which have been resolved.

The site in Van Buren Township did not have any violations since at least 2017. No waste from the Ohio site has been taken to Michigan since Friday.

Local 4 reached out to the Romulus Republic Injection well for a response to why the violations occurred, but we have not heard back. The company is facing fines for the rules it broke, but a financial penalty has not been decided on yet.

After this story aired, Republic Services contacted Local 4 and said they did not receive our request for a statement. They provided the following:

“We are a leading provider of environmental solutions for the recycling and disposal of solid and hazardous waste, with comprehensive compliance programs in place to protect our employees, our communities and the environment. Above all else, safety is our top priority, which is one reason we believe we were initially selected to responsibly manage this waste.

“We acquired the Detroit Industrial Well in October 2019. The data listed for the facility in the EPA’s ECHO database is not always current. We quickly respond to and address any issue raised by state regulators. We believe that our Detroit Industrial Well facility has resolved any open or pending violations.

“The Detroit Industrial Well facility is accepting waste in compliance with all applicable state and federal requirements, and is equipped with the appropriate safety measures and engineering to ensure safe and responsible management of the material.”

Local 4 also checked the other site, Wayne Disposal in Van Buren Township, and they have not had any violations since at least 2017.

Our team spent some time Tuesday (Feb. 28) digging through the manifest waste shipments. According to EPA records, last fall, the Romulus facility took in about 250 tons of hazardous waste, including arsenic and cadmium.

Along with something the EPA calls “Corrosive waste.” Last fall, the other facility in Van Buren Township accepted thousands of tons of arsenic, barium, and other hazards, including lead.

The EPA reports don’t say where those things came from, but according to the EPA, the waste that went to the two facilities is either flammable or carcinogenic.

About the Author:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter.