Sept. 17 2015 01:21 PM

Neighbors expressed concern about hazardous hauler at downtown business

truck one niowave
A waste hauling truck removes coolant from Niowave Monday.
Courtesy Photo/Dale Schrader

On Monday, Dale Schrader, a neighborhood activist from the Walnut Street area, sent City Pulse a photo of a hazardous materials removal truck backed up to a window at Niowave. A hose from the truck was run into the building, and he reported the truck pumped something from the building for about 45 minutes. His question? What was Niowave having removed?

After being transferred to three different people at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, I was told that department -- responsible for protecting Michigan's environment and people's health from hazards like industrial chemicals -- won't know exactly what was removed for several months. Why? Apparently anytime something in a hazard category is removed from a business, the hauler files a manifest with the state. That can take a month at least, and another month or two to review the manifest and put it up online.

So, I called the Ingham County Health Department. Amanda Darche, spokesperson for the department looked into the question, and here's what she learned.

"We called out contact at Niowave," Darche said. "They said they're flushing coolant. That's something they do annually."

Darche reports that Niowave has been "consistently compliant" with the Pollution Prevention Program with the department and has consistently kept the county up to date regarding what chemicals are on-site.

As for that coolant that was removed, she said it posed no human health threat.