DETROIT, Mich., May 12, 2022 — State Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck), state Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) and Detroit residents have launched a petition calling on the city of Detroit to enter a Host Community Agreement (HCA) with US Ecology’s Detroit South facility, which stores and treats industrial and hazardous wastes, to improve its operations and reduce air pollution.
“The people who live, work and play around US Ecology deserve an environment free of hazardous and toxic substances that pollute their air. Public health and wellbeing of the community should always take precedence,” Rep. Aiyash said. “Establishing an HCA with the facility takes us one step closer to that goal.”
An HCA is a legal agreement between the city and a facility that establishes community-specific guidelines and regulations tailored to the community’s needs. Since the 1990s, HCAs have been used effectively to uplift the voices of impacted communities throughout Wayne County.
“A formal agreement is the best way to ensure that industries like US Ecology South will be transparent and accountable to the community,” said Rev. Sharon Buttry, a Hamtramck resident and volunteer facilitator for the Detroit Hamtramck Coalition for Advancing Healthy Environments. “As a Coalition we will not rest until US Ecology South stops threatening our health and wellbeing.”
Thousands of people live within a mile of the waste facility. Many of them close their windows, stay inside and adjust their schedules due to the noxious odors that come from the facility. The waste facility has received over 20 violation notices for noxious odors since 2014. The odor is known to have a negative effect on the health of people with asthma and other chronic conditions.
“Our children, like all children, deserve and demand fresh air to play, learn and grow in,” says Carolyn Leadley, a Detroit resident whose family lives near the facility. “Noxious smells from the US Ecology Detroit South plant hinder our family’s enjoyment of our neighborhood and our own backyard and pose potential health risks to growing children.”
“Everyone should have the right to clean air to breathe and a good quality of life, no matter where they live. Facilities who continue to violate environmental standards need to be held accountable and a Host Community Agreement would be a tremendous way to ensure residents’ voices and needs are heard,” said Sen. Stephanie Chang. “I applaud the Detroit Hamtramck Coalition for Advancing Healthy Environments and residents living near the US Ecology South facility. Their tireless engagement and activism will no doubt bring the changes and accountability needed.”
Members of the community interested in protecting their clean air can support the petition here.