Wetland permit approved for industrial grinder in Howell

22 October 2021

By Jon King / [email protected]

The Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) has approved a wetland permit requested by a Howell company that is considering installing a controversial industrial shredder.

Padnos Iron and Metal, on Lucy Road, Howell, already has an air permit for the chipper. Following a public hearing in August before EGLE’s water resources division, a wetland permit was issued on Tuesday allowing the company to fill 0.85 acres of wetlands they said had were accidentally created by fieldwork by the previous owner. They will also replace two culverts. In exchange, Padnos will buy bank loans for the wetlands.

Residents who commented at the public hearing in August said Padnos should be denied the permit because he failed to meet requirements that the project must be in the best interest or in the public interest. Concerns have also been raised that the contaminants currently located on the land are trickling onto the adjacent land. One of the conditions of the permit is that “all adjacent unexploited wetlands must be protected by a properly dug sediment barrier to prevent sediment from entering the wetland”.

Howell’s attorney, Don Parker, represents Protect Livingston, a group opposed to the shredder. He claimed that even though the site plan calls for a paved road, details show the intention to build it with gravel, which would increase runoff issues. Parker added that stormwater and washwater that comes in contact with the chipper could contain oil, gasoline and other contaminants that would more easily seep into the ground with gravel. He asked EGLE to demand that the road be paved, that the water discharges be treated and that they be required to connect to the sewer system to avoid septic infiltration. In granting the permit, however, EGLE did not require any of these conditions from the company. Meanwhile, an application by PADNOS to join the MHOG Water Authority was rejected by that organization’s board, leading to suspicion that legal action could be taken to force the issue.

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