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Greenway makes changes after rats found at landfill

News Photo by Crystal Nelson The Greenway transfer station located off of U.S.-23 North in Alpena is seen on Wednesday.

ALPENA — Changes have been made to operations at Greenway after an inspection by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy found multiple violations the business needed to address.

The state inspection occurred after administrators at the Montmorency-Oscoda-Alpena Solid Waste Management Authority filed a complaint with District Health Department No. 4 concerning rats transported in trucks from Greenway to the landfill in Atlanta.

Health Department officials then notified EGLE of the complaint.

Inspectors found three violations, including six containers of waste that were stored at the facility for more than a week, litter and residual waste beneath the compactor and in the corners of the facility, and solid waste on the floor of the unloading garage area that appeared to have been stored there overnight.

The business was asked to make corrective actions, including the removing waste containers from the facility at least once a week, ensuring the solid waste transfer station is cleaned at least once a week, and that solid waste is not stored in the transfer facility overnight.

“What we’ve done, though, is we’ve increased our trips to the landfill and added a second transfer trailer and a second truck to eliminate any waste from staying inside our facility for more than the day,” Greenway owner Bob Spragg said. “Basically, we empty the facility every day, and that is how we’re handling the situation.”

Additionally, Spragg said, his team has installed a larger trash compactor, which allows them to handle the material more quickly, and purchased a larger loader to handle the material more efficiently.

Spragg said the transfer station periodically gets rats from dumpsters located throughout Alpena County. He said the rats usually come and go with the materials, but they can multiply if they end up sticking around.

Landfill Administrator Connie Gerrie said in an email that any pest is concerning, because pests can affect landfill employees’ health and damage equipment and buildings. She said rats have periodically “hitchhiked” their way to the landfill, but “by no means do we have an infestation.”

EGLE spokeswoman Jill Greenberg said there will be a follow-up inspection at Greenway on March 15.

“The hope is, with these remedial actions, the rat issue will be taken care of,” she said.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.

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