APEX, N.C. — Five weeks after a chemical fire at the Environmental Quality Industrial Services facility in Apex, state officials on Thursday gave the company permission to remove hazardous waste from the operation.
The Oct. 5 fire at EQ, which collected and repackaged hazardous wastes to prepare them for disposal, prompted the evacuation of about 17,000 Apex residents.
EQ is expected to begin shipping most of the hazardous waste to its Belleville, Mich., plant in the next few days. Some containers will be shipped to an incinerator in Elyria, Ohio.
The company will remove hazardous waste from the site only during daylight hours, and state Division of Waste Management inspectors will oversee all shipments, officials said.
All of the hazardous waste is stored at the Apex site in 32 roll-off containers, which EQ will ship in trucks.
"We are working closely with EQ to ensure the hazardous waste is shipped to a facility that can properly treat or dispose of the waste," division director Dexter Matthews said in a statement. "EQ is being encouraged to do this in a manner that gets the hazardous waste off-site as soon as possible, while following all provisions to protect human health and the environment."
"We will work as quickly and efficiently as possible ... to remove the containerized waste materials from the site," company spokesman Bob Doyle said in a statement. "We are currently determining the logistics necessary to remove the waste materials as quickly and safely as possible. When complete, all waste will be gone from the site, and the clean-up will be complete."