Madison Heights Contends Illegal Dumping by SOCRRA
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Aug. 19, 2014)
The City of Madison Heights put a halt to what they call illegal dumping at a SOCRRA transfer station located in their City. The following press release gives details of their claim:
“On Monday, August 18th, City personnel observed that several waste haulers representing several of the communities participating in the South Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority (SOCRRA) were dumping garbage in open outdoor piles at the SOCRRA facility located on John R Road in Madison Heights. Upon further investigation, it was determined that such activity had been occurring since Friday, August 15, and that according to on-site SOCRRA personnel, between 2,000 and 3,000 tons had been deposited on site.
“The illegal dumping of thousands of tons of garbage in Madison Heights represents a direct and imminent threat to the public health, safety, and welfare, and upon verification of the activity, police and code enforcement personnel immediately shut down the operation. The City is taking and will continue to take the appropriate legal actions under City Code to abate this immediate health threat. In addition, the City Attorney’s office is currently reviewing further appropriate legal options.
“While the City understands that many communities are experiencing extreme conditions due to the cleanup from the August 11th flood, the City finds it inexcusable and unacceptable that SOCRRA would think it appropriate to dump open garbage in Madison Heights on a site unlicensed for such use. The immediacy of the health implications from odors, rodents, birds, and the likelihood of contamination due to the volume and type of waste dumped warranted the City’s immediate actions. The City of Madison Heights has also been experiencing extraordinary trash volumes, but has properly disposed of all waste to licensed sanitary landfills. Furthermore, we have worked with our waste hauler to extend service hours, days, and crews to expedite removal of the high volume of waste as quickly as possible.
“Frankly, the City would never have thought of taking its waste to any location other than a licensed sanitary landfill. The City will continue to take every appropriate action to ensure that the site is cleaned up immediately and that no further illegal dumping occurs.
City Councilperson Brian Hartwell gave additional information, stating “The location that SOCRRA dumped other cities’ trash is located South of the Red Oak 9 hole golf course, West of Page Middle School, Northwest of the Madison Heights Little League Baseball complex, and North of the Madison Heights Senior Center. Not to mention the hundreds of homes to the East of this site.” He added that the site, owned by SOCRRA, is the site of a trash incinerator that is no longer in use, and that SOCRRA is not permitted to dump unsanitary trash at that location.
Madison Heights is not part of SOCRRA, and they have had legal issues in the past over the incinerator and easements associated with the property. An Advantage Oakland map describes the site, stating “The SOCRRA transfer station site… is actually designated as an all-purpose “Disposal Area” site except that it may not be used for a sanitary landfill, an incinerator or a waste-to-energy plant.”
SOCRRA serves Berkley, Beverly Hills, Birmingham, Clawson, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak and Troy.
Hartwell, who also experienced flooding and loss in his home and vehicle, said “The emotional and health toll on our residents this past week is difficult to measure. The financial and environmental impact will be quantified. The members and leaders of SOCRRA have truly insulted and endangered Madison Heights. What really bothers me is that neighboring cities seem all too excited to celebrate cleaning up their streets by dumping their toxic waste onto Madison Heights. It is against the law and it is against common decency shown among neighbors.”
The City of Berkley has issued a statement saying that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has issued an emergency permit at the Madison Heights location that will allow them to store garbage there until September 19, 2014.
Karen Bever of SOCRRA stated ”
Madison Heights Code Enforcement Officer sited us late Monday afternoon for illegally dumping in an open field at our Madison Heights facility and proceeded to shut us down at that point. We do have a Permit to Operate our Madison Heights facility as a backup to the Troy Transfer Station for use only two times per year. At that time we contacted our attorney who began working with the MDEQ and Homeland Security. The MDEQ has issued an emergency order that will authorize us to operate both the Troy and Madison Heights facility on a temporary basis.”
This story will be updated as more information becomes available, hopefully including a response from SOCRRA.
For more flood-related stories and resources, see:
Madison Heights Contends Illegal Dumping by SOCRRA