Thursday, March 9, 2023

Romulus mayor seeks oversight of waste disposal

City of Romulus officials recently issued an update regarding the shipments of toxic waste from the train derailment in East Palestine, OH into the community. 

Upon receiving notification from Republic Waste that the Romulus Deep Well Injection facility was accepting delivery of liquid waste from the Ohio train derailment that occurred Feb. 3, Mayor Robert McCraight and his team immediately reached out to city, county, state and federal agencies for assistance to better understand how this was transpiring without  notification to the city, explained the prepared statement. With the help of elected officials, further shipments to the Romulus facility were halted and this past week, McCraight met with officials from Republic and requested details in an effort to better inform the public and clarify the situation.

As early as Feb. 10, Republic began to accept samples for testing of the liquid proposed to be shipped from East Palestine, officials said.  On Feb. 20, the Romulus Republic facility began accepting shipments, processing and injecting the liquid product into the well.  From Feb. 20 until Feb. 24, the well injected approximately 313,807 gallons of product from a total of 63 shipments that averaged between 4,000-5,200 gallons per shipment.  Lab results show the products discharged into the well satisfy the guidelines as set forth by both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).  Official documents obtained by the City of Romulus indicate that the product was comprised of 95-99 percent water.  Even though the products appear to meet the EPA requirements, shipments into Michigan were stopped during the evening of Feb. 24.

McCraight has since met or spoken with elected officials and representatives of multiple organizations to discuss next steps. 

"This is a regional issue, not just a Romulus issue, we have to focus on overall transportation protocols and best practices.  There has to be clear oversight and inspection processes that hold companies accountable to the citizen's safety, these should not be self-reporting processes," said McCraight. "We have to seriously consider if Michigan and the world's largest supply of fresh water is the best location for an injection well."

This week State Sen. Darrin Camilleri took the first step and secured an additional $500,000 toward increased oversight and inspections at the Romulus well location. Republic has shared the following information in regard to the shipments:

At derailment site liquids are extracted and screened

Following the screening process disposal options are determined

Romulus deep well is selected as best option for disposal

Material consists of AFFF (fire-fighting foam which has PFAS chemicals), vinyl chloride and water

Upon arrival at Romulus deep well the material is screened and tested to confirm disposal requirements

Once confirmed waste material is safely disposed into the deep well

Approximately 300,000 gallons were safely disposed

Over 60 truckloads of material were delivered to the deep well facility

Truck route consisted of I-94 to Middlebelt Exit; south on Middlebelt to Wick Road; east on Wick Road to Inkster Road; north on Inkster Road to Citron Drive until arrival at the facility

EGLE inspects this facility on a quarterly basis

Romulus officials said they were grateful to the officials and organizations that quickly and actively supported the city in an effort to halt further shipments of waste to the Romulus site and into the State of Michigan. 

Support came from Wayne County CEO Warren Evans, Camilleri; State Reps. Reggie Miller, Dylan Wegela, and James DeSana;, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell;, U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib; Romulus City Council members; Huron Township Supervisor David Glaab; City of Taylor Mayor Tim Wooley; Conference of Western Wayne; Downriver Community Conference members and the Wayne County Emergency Management and Homeland Security office.