ATQ: Was hazardous waste removed properly from local agricultura - WNEM TV 5

ATQ: Was hazardous waste removed properly from local agricultural center?

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After an agricultural processing center was demolished and the debris hauled away, questions of whether hazardous waste was removed properly have begun to surface.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is investigating the Star of the West facility in Tuscola County after receiving tips that hazardous chemicals may have contaminated surrounding soil.

Star of the West's Richville facility is undergoing major renovations, including the tear down of an old fertilizer plant. However, a former employee is speaking.

He said the fertilizer wasn't disposed of properly during demolition.

“It can seep into the ground, and if it gets into the water tables and people's wells it can be harmful,” Taylor Weisenberger said.

Weisenberger said he used to work for Star of the West, but was recently let go. He informed the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality about their actions, and days later the company was advised to cease any removal of dirt or debris from their premises.

“So, we had one of our staff members go out to the site and take a look to see what was going on. When he arrived, he noticed that the building had been taken down and there was some dirt that appeared to have been contaminated by fertilizer,” Mike Jury said.

Test results taken from the fertilizer building has not turned up anything just yet, but the DEQ is looking to make sure the land is taken care of properly and efficiently.

"When we get the results back, we'll know does this material need to go to a landfill or could it be reused or what can they do with it,” Jury said.

However, Star of the West said their company addressed the concerns over disposal of the fertilizer before even being contacted by the DEQ.

“We contacted our environmental consultant that we hired, we asked for his advisement, he came out and visited. We began to stockpile the material that was in those two small sections of the building,” Patrick Nellenbach.

For now, the dirt will remain covered at Star of the West's facility until further notice.

“Hopefully, they can get the issue resolved and everyone is safe in Richville,” Weisenberger said. 

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