Page 10-The Michigan Daily- Friday, April 2,1993 0
Envotech seeks to construct
incinerator close to campus
by Mike Goecke
Daily Staff Reporter
Washtenaw County's. Augusta
Township may soon become the
hazardous waste capital of the
Envotech, a waste management
company, is seeking permission to
build a $160-million industrial de-
velopment that would handle
The proposed site would house a
high-tech hazardous waste landfill
and a modern, two-stage incinerator
for thermally treating hazardous
Envotech submitted two propos-.
als last May to the Michigan
Department of Natural Resources
(MDNR) - one for an incinerator
and one for a landfill - but the
MDNR deemed them incomplete.
"The application process for (a
landfill and incinerator) is the most
detailed, complex, stringent applica-
tion," said Ken Burda, who is in
charge of the hazardous Waste
Permit Program of the MDNR.
"We've never seen a complete ap-
plication in the history of the
program," he added.
Although the MDNR does not
grant the actual permits, it must
approve the application.
"It's a two-stage process," Burda
saigd "The MDNR just determines if
they meet all the technical aspects,
then we pass it on to a side review
,The side review board, comprised
of 10 people - eight of whom are
appointed by the governor - will
conduct numerous public hearings
before determining whether to issue
Envotech a construction permit.
Jerry Fore, vice president of
Envotech project management, said,
"We've had the objective of putting.
together an application that can't be
depied and I think we've come as
close as humanly possible to
The proposed site is generating
much controversy between the
community and Envotech.
Augusta Township Trustee Hans
Poseltt said he, along with the com-
munity, is opposed to the new
"Outside of Envotech, I don't
know anyone who wants it (to be
built), except maybe the governor,"
Burda also acknowledged the
opposition of the community.
"I haven't been written any let-
ters supporting it, let's put it that
way," he said.
One University student, Kathy
Cook, an LSA junior, is particularly
concerned because she hails from
"The air pollution can spread
around 30 miles, which includes
Ann Arbor," she said.
Inspired by the 20th anniversary
of Earth Day, three years ago Cook
began researching Envotech's
"There are thousands of people
within a four-mile radius whose wa-
ter has the potential to be contami-
nated. (The waste) could even get in
the aquifers that feed Great Lakes."
Aquifers are underground layers
of porous rock that contain water.
Other reasons for caution are the
unknown effects and conflicting data
on hazardous waste pollution.
"There are inconclusive studies
from, say, acquiring cancer from
living near the incinerator," she said.
The necessity of the site is
another debated issue.
Fore said the need for such a fa-
cility exists because Michigan is the
second largest generator of
hazardous waste in the country.
"We're right in the middle of one
of the greatest manufacturing
industries of hazardous waste," he
Burda added that Michigan has
insufficient means to handle
"We have no incinerator capacity
other than some limited special
waste capacity, and we have three to
five years of commercial land
Poseltt said he sees no need for
"Right now, in handling haz-
ardous waste, we have a national ex-
cess of 1 million tons. The construc-
tion of new waste management facil-
ities undermines efforts toward
waste reduction," he said.
He added, "The problem with
this is that many people are getting
poisoned and a few people make
millions off it."
Another issue fueling controversy
is the history of the landfill site.
Burda said, "There are alleged
thousands of barrels of toxic waste at
The absence of strict pollution
laws in the 1970s allowed the
dumping to occur, he said.
Burda explained that, according
to Michigan Law Act 307, compa-
nies responsible for polluted lands
have three options.
"One, they can remove all of it.
Two, they can remove part of it. Or
three, they can leave it and provide
and on-site solution," Burda said.
Envotech is attempting to satisfy
the third option.
Interstate commerce laws do not
allow states to deny the admittance
of hazardous waste.
"The Supreme Court ruled that
waste can come from any state. They
can't regulate it to be just a regional
thing," Cook said.
The transportation of hazardous
waste then becomes an issue.
"The site is located near a prison,
and if an accident occurred (the
prison) would have to evacuate
thousands of prisoners and the
government isn't prepared," Cook
Dan Gilbert, Envotech manager
of Corporate Communications,
pointed out that the waste is not as
dangerous as many allege.
"Hazardous waste sounds very
ominous. It's not this green, oozing
stuff that, if released in the air, is
going to kill people," he said.
One of the reasons Envotech
chose the Augusta site is its
proximity to the interstates.
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1VAN I'L 1111 /Daily
University student Ken Min glances up at nature's April Fool's Day prank as he walks through the Law Quad.
More than three inches of snow accumulated yesterday, just 48 hours after temperatures were in the 60s.
'U' computer network thrives
by James Cho
Daily Staff Reporter
Neither rain nor sleet nor snow
can stop a computer link-up system
pioneered at the University from
connecting people across the globe.
"Both UPS and Federal Express
are very concerned," said Joel
Maloff, vice president of Client
Services for Advanced Network &
Services, Inc. (ANS).
Electronic mail has permeated
"People in Sydney and Helsinki
are able to transfer information,"
said Eric Aupperle, president of
Merit Network, Inc.
Merit is a corporation affiliated
with the University that monitors
Internet, an international computer
Internet links 120 countries -
1.2 million computers and more than
10 million users.
"It is hard to fathom the growth
of the network. This is a new social
phenomenon different from any
other telecommunication structure,"
Users could release information
through electronic mail even during
the recent Soviet coup when the
government shut down radio and
The primary purpose of forming
a nationwide network was to connect
six U.S. supercomputer sites to
educational and research institutions.
In a speech to members of the
student chapter of the Association
for Computing Machinery (ACM)'
Tuesday, Aupperle focused on the
important role Merit played in the
formation of the international
In 1989, Merit, in partnership
with IBM and MCI, procured a con-
tract from the National Science
Foundation to form a nationwide
computer network, known as the
National Science Foundation
Network (NSFNET), to improve
connectivity between research uni-
versities and six supercomputers
scattered across the United States.
Merit pioneered the concept of
computer networking when it came
into existence to provide a computer
link up with Michigan State
University and Wayne State
University in the 1960s.
"In the days of punch cards and
crude interactive devices, the ability
to link students, faculty and staff
was pretty phenomenal," Aupperle
"Today, the NSFNET is a high-
way system, which connects the re-
gional networks and is the key
linch-pin to Asia and Europe," he
"The partnership with IBM and
MCI is a good example of industry,
government and academia working
together for the good of the
country," he said.
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