US Ecology cleans environment


Recent incorrect and incomplete information has created some concerns regarding US Ecology’s waste treatment facility in Detroit. To put it simply, US Ecology is in the business of cleaning up the environment. We help industries and communities in Detroit and Michigan achieve their environmental goals by making sure we safely manage household hazardous waste, lab packs from universities and industrial waters from local industry, to name a few. The Georgia Street facility has been safely operating in the community for over 40 years.

We are proud of our part in making sure communities and industry can safely and compliantly manage their waste. US Ecology’s business is built upon strict enforcement of environmental rules and compliance with these rules is something we actively support and a responsibility we take very seriously.

The facility employs redundant containment and extensive environmental monitoring systems which meet or exceed regulatory requirements. US Ecology conducts thousands of tests annually and uses this information to achieve continuous improvement within the established “pre-treatment” standards prior to releasing any water to the Great Lakes Water Authority. The GLWA takes the treated water from our facility, as well from many other industrial and residential customers throughout the Detroit metro area, and further treats the wastewater to ensure all communities are served safely (that all state and federal safety standards are met).

Every 10 years, facilities like ours are required to renew their permits, which allow companies and agencies the opportunity to update the permit and to verify the permit is up to date with the most recent rules and regulations. We are now going through this important process. As part of this process, we have requested authority to convert and expand certain aspects of the operations. We operate within an ever-changing business and regulatory climate, and like other businesses, we need the flexibility to adapt to the needs of our customers.

There are many false claims being spread about the updates in the permit. The changes will not result in a tenfold increase in the size of our facility, nor will they result in 10 times the amount of waste received as represented by some in the press. In fact, similar to many industries in Michigan, we have experienced a significant drop in business levels and the proposed changes simply allow us to continue serving the ever-changing needs of our customers. We are proud to support Michigan’s revival by providing safe and compliant environmental solutions to our community, governmental and industrial customers.

US Ecology has listened to local stakeholders and has in fact curtailed activities in response to their concerns. For example, in response to these concerns we terminated our radioactive materials registration at the Georgia Street facility.

We are proud to be a part of the local community and work every day to be a good neighbor, which means continuing to listen and address any concerns.

Simon Bell, executive vice president

and chief operating officer, US Ecology