The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Detroit police and fire pension fund left holding the toxic waste

Dec 11, 2006

The Detroit Police and Fire Retirement System is now the proud owner of a toxic waste site in Romulus, Michigan, near Detroit Metro Airport. The company that owned the site, Environmental Disposal Systems, Inc. (EDS) recently defaulted on 38 million dollars in loans from the police and fire department’s pension fund.

Last January, a federal judge had given EDS approval to inject hazardous waste in wells 4500 feet underground, despite the objections of local residents and environmental activists who had fought against the injection well plan for 17 years up to that point.

This site was so badly run that the state Department of Environmental Quality shut the wells down in October, just ten months later. One of the wells was leaking and another one emitting an acidic vapor. Even the federal Environmental Protection Agency cited the company for not being able to show that it properly monitored the waste and for having only one part-time employee with any experience in well operations.

So the polluting company quickly disappeared – pulling the plug on its website, and using workers from another company to answer its phones.

So thirty-eight million dollars seems to have disappeared, local residents are left to worry about toxic waste leaking from the wells, and police and firefighters are left to manage a toxic waste dump. It smells like it was a bad plan from the beginning – as the people of the area knew.

(Maybe retired police officers and firefighters can pay their landlords and bill collectors with hazardous waste!)