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How This US Ecology Facility is Regulated under the Environmental Regulations

The facility is subject to multiple environmental regulatory programs, carried out by multiple government agencies. Each agency issues separate permits or licenses under the authority they are assigned under the regulations. The permit or license issued by each agency identifies what US Ecology must do to operate properly, to prevent the release of contaminants to the environment, and to limit any allowed discharge of contaminants to levels determined to be protective of human health and the environment. Each agency requires monitoring and performs independent oversight to ensure the facility is operated in a protective manner that meets the permits and license requirements. The agencies also share information to ensure compliance.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Materials Management Division (MMD) licenses and inspects US Ecology’s hazardous waste and solid waste operations separately. MMD inspects US Ecology’s hazardous waste operations at least four times per year and the solid waste operations at least once per year. These inspections are typically unannounced and are performed to verify the operations meet the license requirements. MMD evaluates US Ecology’s hazardous waste storage, treatment, emergency planning, employee training, and recordkeeping. EGLE evaluates U.S. Ecology’s solid waste storage, treatment, and recordkeeping.

Wayne County officials also inspect the solid waste operations at US Ecology to ensure compliance with the Wayne County ordinance. There is a Host Community Agreement between US Ecology and the City of Detroit, as required under the Wayne County ordinance. This is an agreement between the City and the company. EGLE is not a party to this agreement, nor is the agreement required under the license or any other EGLE authorization. Host Community Agreements are common between solid waste management facilities and their host communities. These agreements typically include unique local requirements that benefit the community where they reside.       

EGLE, Air Quality Division issues the permit for air emissions from the facility. Air Quality Division inspects the facility to evaluate compliance with the air quality requirements and reviews the facility’s monitoring data.

The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) issues the permit for the discharge of treated wastewater into the sanitary sewer system. The Great Lakes Water Authority inspects the facility, reviews monitoring data, and conducts sampling of the facility’s discharge. EGLE, Water Resources Division oversees Great Lakes Water Authority’s regulatory program for industrial dischargers and may also inspect the facility to audit Great Lakes Water Authority’s program implementation.

Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not permit or license the facility, they may also conduct inspections of the facility to verify compliance with air, water, and waste regulations. EPA last conducted an inspection of the facility on May 14, 2019.