Residents, lawmakers accuse MKE business of harmful pollution

Residents detect an odor coming from plant
Posted at 10:11 PM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-21 23:11:59-04

Dangerous fumes in the air, and chemicals being released into Milwaukee's sewer system are making families on the north side concerned.

Mid-America IBC recycles and refurbishes large chemical containers, but their practices have been put into question, and now residents and local leaders want more answers.

"There is a smell," said Regina Russell. "An odor sometimes going through the air. It makes me worry about my water and soil too. I'm terrified. We don't know what they're doing over there. What kind of chemicals they're using and what kind of harm it could eventually do to us since we live over here."

Russell said the odor comes from Mid-America IBC, located right across the street, at Cornell and 23rd Streets.

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation has revealed potential safety violations at Mid-America IBC, specifically, the "mishandling of toxic chemicals."

Will Kramer, a former employee at the facility, helped uncover those dangers. He said he saw  "dangerous chemicals being washed down the floor drains, and that plumes of smoke from unknown chemical reactions had been released into the neighborhood."

"You wouldn't wish your worst enemy, and the worst person you can imagine, to work in these facilities," Kramer said.

A Milwaukee building inspector says they've inspected the facility three times in the past three months, and found no violations. Normally, inspections are once a year.

"Worker safety is an issue, and when and if we get complaints - we haven't gotten any complaints of that - we will take those seriously also," he said.

State Sen. Lena Taylor and state Rep. David Bowen are among the local leaders trying to hold the company -  and federal, state, and city inspectors -  accountable. They're asking residents to be vigilant.

"If you smell or see something, you need to say something and get in contact with our offices," Bowen said.

Mid-America IBC did not return phone calls for comment from TODAY’S TMJ4. 


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