DEQ continues investigation of Quinnesec landfill fire

QUINNESEC — The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality continues to review disposal practices at the Niagara Development landfill off Kimberly Road in Quinnesec following a waste tire fire earlier this month.

The chipped and shredded tires were being used to help drainage at the landfill, which is licensed as a Type III facility, said Phil Roycraft, the DEQ’s district coordinator for the Office of Waste Management and Radiological Protection.

“Up until now that worked well,” he said. The private landfill accepts low-hazard industrial waste, including foundry sand, and demolition materials.

Three fire departments were called to extinguish the Sept. 20 fire, which started after someone accidentally dumped hot material on the tires, said Breitung Township Fire Chief Jeff Iverson.

Breitung firefighters weren’t concerned about the fire spreading, Iverson explained, as it was in the middle of a field. However, they did request help from Norway and Niagara firefighters in providing extra water.

No one was hurt in the incident.

Roycraft, who described the fire as “an accident,” said there will likely be operating changes once the landfill investigation is completed.

The landfill is permitted to accept waste from Dickinson County only. Last year, the county board denied a proposal from Niagara Development to accept Type III waste from all other Upper Peninsula counties, mainly citing traffic concerns.

Niagara Development acquired the former NewPage paper mill in Niagara, Wis., and other assets, including the mill’s landfill property in Breitung Township, in 2011.

Jim Anderson can be reached at 906-774-2772, ext. 26, or janderson@ironmountaindailynews.com.

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