Group rallies against expansion of waste facility near Detroit-Hamtramck border

The Detroit News
People protest the proposed expansion of the US Ecology Hazardous Waste Treatment and Storage Facility that borders Detroit and Hamtramck, in Eastern Market on Saturday.

Detroit — Detroit-area political leaders, activists and residents rallied in Eastern Market Saturday in opposition to the proposed expansion of a waste facility near the Detroit-Hamtramck border. 

The rally was staged by The Coalition to Oppose the Expansion of US Ecology. The Boise, Idaho-based hazardous waste disposal company wants to increase its storage capacity at 6520 Georgia Street.

State Rep. Isaac Robinson, D-Detroit, said about 50 people marched to the market and paraded there with signs. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality permit for US Ecology's expansion has been delayed, and Robinson said the coalition seeks to halt it altogether.

People protest US Ecology's proposed expansion, Saturday at Eastern Market.

"There's a real concern about an over-concentration of hazardous waste," Robinson said. "Allowing the expansion right in the middle of the city of Detroit and Hamtramck would send a message ... across the country that Detroit is a dumping ground."

US Ecology's Detroit North office could not be reached for comment Saturday afternoon. 

Dave Crumrine, a spokesman for US Ecology in Michigan, said in March the safety of the community and its employees is its top priority, and that the expansion "would not increase the physical footprint of the facility or wastewater discharge volumes of the facility,"