Innovative Waste Utilization unit in South Phoenix, USA

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">Innovative Waste Utilization, LLC (IWU) located in South Phoenix, Arizona was shut down after a drug bust on February 26, 2003. The day following the raid, the ADEQ ordered closure of the plant which suspended the facility’s hazardous waste permit [1].</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">The South Phoenix community has had a history of environmental issues, most notably those between 1992 and 2004. A toxic chemical fire in 1992 that started at a plastic manufacturing plant and lasted almost 12 hours led to deteriorated health of community members and increased death rates in the area downwind of the fire [2]. In 1994, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality allowed the state of California to send hazardous waste containing both DDT and lead to South Phoenix for storage by Greenfield Environmental while state environmental officials found a permanent located for the sludge [2]. Greenfield Environmental was the previous operator of the facility run by Innovative Waste Utilization.<br/><br/>Innovative Waste Utilization (IWU) purchased the facility located at 2575 South 16th Avenue from Greenfield Environmental in 1999. For the seventeen years Greenfield Environmental operated this facility, there had never been a hazardous waste permit [2, 3 p. 125]. The purchase, however, included an interim waste permit and by not applying for a permanent permit, IWU avoided a public hearing. In 1999, IWU submitted a proposal to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) requesting an expansion of the 4-acre facility along with a proposal to begin treating hazardous waste [2]. <br/><br/>The ADEQ considered this proposal in 1999. Three years prior to this proposed expansion, the ADEQ described the area as a low-income, minority community already overburdened with industry [2]. Serving a primarily white Phoenix population, this plant wanted to expand its operation in an area predominately inhabited by minorities [4]. The Environmental Protection Agency notes that the population within a 3 mile radius of the facility was 83% minority [5]. In addition to Innovative Waste Utilization, there were seven other hazardous waste facilities located in South Phoenix [2]. <br/><br/>The expansion permit application gave rise to high resistance at the local level. Community members were concerned about their health and the health of their children after a long history of environmental problems in South Phoenix. In 2000, Concerned Residents of South Phoenix (CRSP) and The Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment charged the ADEQ with violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act which states that agencies that receive federal funding are prohibited from actions that have a disproportionate and discriminatory impact on people of color. CRSP claimed that the public was not properly notified about the planned expansion [2]. The complaint was aimed at ADEQ’s long-term complicity in allowing hazardous waste facilities to cluster in that neighborhood [3 p. 125]. The complaint was ultimately dismissed [9, p. 12545].<br/><br/>In response to the expansion proposal, the City Council of Phoenix developed an ordinance preventing expansion of hazardous waste facilities such as IWU and prevented new hazardous waste facilities from locating in South Phoenix [2, 3 p.125]. As a result of actions of grassroots organizations like CRSP and with the help of larger advocacy groups, expansion was halted [2]. The agency still approved a permit to store hazardous waste, however. It was the only such permit issued by ADEQ in that year [6].<br/><br/>IWU contracted with the state of California to accept toxic waste collected in West Coast methamphetamine busts and over time, employees began selling the chemicals to local meth labs [3 p. 125]. <br/><br/>In February 2003, law enforcement officials arrested several employees at the facility on various drug-related charges associated with the illegal removal and distribution of drug lab waste being processed at the facility. This led ADEQ to revoke IWU’s hazardous waste permit and order IWU to cease operations on February 26th. IWU attempted to appeal this decision but eventually abandoned its efforts which made the closure permanent [7]. ADEQ oversaw the 18-day removal to ensure that 630,000 pounds of waste were removed and properly disposed of [8].<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Innovative Waste Utilization unit in South Phoenix, USA</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/united-states-of-america">United States of America </a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Arizona</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>South Phoenix</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Waste Management</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/industrial-waste'>Industrial waste</a><br />Drug lab waste- methamphetamine</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns"><div class="less">83% minority population within 3 mile radius of facility</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">7 hazardous waste facilities in South Phoenix<br/><br/>630,000 pounds of waste removed and properly disposed of following shut-down of facility. Estimated that removal cost the state $500,000.<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>1.6</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Semi-urban</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>1,000-95,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>1999</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">End Date</td><td>23/02/2003</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/industrial-waste-utilization'>Industrial Waste Utilization <small>(IWU)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/united-states-of-america'><small>United States of America </small></a> - <small>Developer of the facility</small><br /><a href='/company/innovative-waste-utilization'>Innovative Waste Utilization <small>(IWU)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/united-states-of-america'><small>United States of America </small></a> - <small>Owner of hazardous waste facility</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Concerned Residents of South Phoenix (CRSP); Don't Waste Arizona Inc; The Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>PREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Local ejos<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities<br /> Women<br /> Ethnically/racially discriminated groups</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Development of a network/collective action<br /> Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism<br /> City developed an ordinance against expansion</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Other Environmental impacts<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Air pollution</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Increased odor</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Deaths, Other environmental related diseases</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Lead contamination</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Loss of landscape/sense of place</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>Stopped</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Court decision (undecided)<br /> Strengthening of participation<br /> Project cancelled</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>Yes</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>Grassroots activism and support of environmental groups and the City helped prevent expansion of the facility.<br/><br/>Federal and state investigations led to drug busts at the facility which resulted in its ultimate and final closure. While not the result of activism, this is still an environmental justice success. The events surrounding this facility brought people in the neighborhood together with larger environmental groups to continue to fight against the remaining hazardous waste facilities in their community.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> City of Phoenix Zoning Ordinance ordinance G-4269 revised May 17, 2000<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> [2] University of Michigan Environmental Justice Case Study by Sarah Brooks December 2000: Innovative Waste Utilization and the Concerned Residents of South Phoenix, Arizona<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [3] Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World's Least Sustainable City by Andrew Ross, Nov 3 2011<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [4] Arizona: Teaching about Arizona's water, waste, mining and climate change since 2014_Univ Wisconsin-Madison Intro to Environmental Studies Course<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [5] EPA ECHO Detailed Facility Report: IWU<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [7] ADEQ Newsroom: Press Release Archive June 23 2005_ Innovative Waste Utilization Drops Appeal of Permit Revocation<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [1] Press Release Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich: Arizona AG gets search warrant for Innovate Waste Utilization sister corporation in California- March 2, 2003<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>[8] ADEQ Timeline 1987-2007</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>[6] ADEQ FY 2001 Hazardous Waste Inspections and Enforcement Report</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>[9] National Archives and Records Administration Federal Register, Vol. 69, No. 52, Wednesday March 17, 2004_ Rules and Regulations </strong> See p. 12545 for piece about 2000 lawsuit against ADEQ<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Bernadette Grafton and Paul Mohai, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, [email protected] and [email protected]</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>07/05/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>