Local News

Public Hearing to Focus on EQ's Future in Apex

Posted April 12, 2007

— State regulators will host a public hearing Thursday night as they consider revoking the operating permit of a hazardous waste operation involved in a massive chemical fire six months ago.

The Apex facility of Michigan-based Environmental Quality Industrial Services erupted in flames on Oct. 5, sending a plume of smoke across town. Officials called for the evacuation of about 17,000 Apex residents, fearing that toxic chemicals were in the plume.

Residents were allowed to return home a day later -- after the fire had burned itself out -- and subsequent state tests showed no immediate or long-term health threats.

Because the EQ facility was destroyed, authorities haven't been able to pinpont the cause of the fire, but they have said they believe chemicals were improperly stored at the site.

The state Division of Waste Management fined EQ $553,225 last month, citing previous problems with chemical releases and smaller fires at the Apex site that were never reported to state or local officials.

State regulators also put the company on notice that it intended to revoke its hazardous waste permit, which would shutter the site permanently.

The public hearing, set for 7 p.m. at Apex Town Hall, is part of the revocation process. People will have up to five minutes each to state their opinions about whether EQ should be allowed to continue operating in town.

EQ officials have expressed a desire to reopen the site. Apex officials have vowed to fight the company's efforts.


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  • tarheel1980 Apr 12, 2007

    handyman; I think there is a big difference in the chemicals that are used in the normal course of business and the collection of hazardous waste and concentration at one point as EQ was doing. At least at a gas station, the public knows and understands the risk. At EQ, especially with the lack of management controls they have demonstrated, the public had no idea of what the risks were. And believe me, the fire at EQ had the potential of being much worse for the public health than a gas station blowing up.

    I think that most gas station operators have more regard for public safety and certainly better histories of compliance than EQ. They should not be allowed to operate in NC!

  • OLD PIRATE Apr 12, 2007

    Everyone who buys gasoline is a guilty as EQ....Yes you are allowing fumes to go into the air. There are solutions but personally I don't want to pay more for gas. I agree with the person who said the chemicals from Apex need to stay in Apex. There is also a gasoline terminal in Apex but it is badly needed to keep the cheap prices in Raleigh and surrounding area. folks there ain't no free ride on enviornmental issues but right now people like eq and your local fuel supplier are paying for all the dance music. Don't forget all the miles of natural gas lines that always have leaks here and there. Its called the big boom theory.

  • ApexMomOfThree Apr 12, 2007

    I was in the process of selling my smaller house when the EQ fire hit. My house was less than 2 miles from the facility. We almost lost the sale and ended up taking a loss because our buyers demanded we spend - out of pocket - money to test our property ($$thousands). Our property tested clean, but it was still a battle to close that deal. In addition, the larger house we bought is in a neighborhood where I KNOW for a fact several people actually forfeited their earnest money because they decided NOT to buy here due to the chemical fire and unknown long term issues.

    My point here is: Property values in Apex will suffer if EQ rebuilds. Even if they are now (and were, for that matter) clean as a whistle, there is a 'perception' now about EQ; and our nice town of Apex needs to boot them out. By the way, I asked EQ to reimburse us for the money we spent to prove they did not contaminate our property, and we never got a reply from them. Nice, huh?

  • NC_VET Apr 12, 2007

    Wonder why nobody is looking at the Apex City Leaders for
    allowing EQ to build where it did in the first place?

    Here's your sign!

  • superman Apr 12, 2007

    tarheel-- guess you dont realize that gas is extremly flamable and will blow up! And as for the animals in the city-- I was suggesting that there are a lot of things the city is not looking at or doing. Sounds like the city might be guilty of poor management too. There are dangerous chemicals stored and used all over town, including gasoline. You ever been to a service station where someone spilled gas and then they drove off? A spark would make the whole place go up.

  • inmyopinion3 Apr 12, 2007

    If EQ is not allowed to rebuild in Apex residents of Apex should not be allowed use other hazardous materials disposal sites within 30 miles of the town as these too could pose a threat based on residents logic! This is simply a case of "not on my doorstep" what a bunch of hypocrites.

  • tarheel1980 Apr 12, 2007

    honda; Your comments make no sense. What gas station are you talking about blowing up? How do animals in Apex have anything to do with a badly managed and dangerous chemical waste facility? Are you reading your own posts?

  • superman Apr 12, 2007

    Just you wait and see a gas station blow up. You know how many dangerous chemicals are stored in those stores that sell paint? Seems that Apex was the town where the guy had all those animals in his house and yard? Or was it Cary? If you wanna live in a perfect world -- u may need to move from the planet. Bet you dont like the school system either.

  • Dayum Krazy Apr 12, 2007


  • tarheel1980 Apr 12, 2007

    This company should have never been allowed to operate so close to homes. Now they have demonstrated that they have no interest in running the facility responsibly. Why would we want a business like this anywhere in North Carolina?