El Paso

Local leaders claim owner of medical waste facility did not file proper permits

EL PASO, Texas - A City Representative and County Commissioner tell ABC-7 they believe they have found a way to keep a medical waste facility from opening in the Lower Valley.

They claim to have found the evidence the waste facility's owner does not have the proper permits he claimed to have in order to open the facility.

City Representative Claudia Ordaz-Perez and her husband, County Commissioner Vince Perez held a news conference to discuss the issue.

IF YOU MISSED THE NEWS CONFERENCE, YOU CAN WATCH THE REPLAY BELOW:

The proposed site for the medical waste facility is on the 9000 block of Billy the Kid in El Paso's Lower Valley. 

Despite homeowners coming together during a public hearing to let the owner of that facility know they do not want the facility in their neighborhood, the owner moved ahead with his plans and even got approval from the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

ABC-7 obtained copies of a letter sent to TCEQ stating the owner did not have the necessary permits he claimed to have to open the facility.

An area homeowner is hopeful the proposed medical waste facility will not open behind his house. "They're finding things to at least prohibit this person from opening something that we were unaware of.  It is a milestone. I think it's great," said Victor Ramirez.

In the letter to the chairman of TCEQ, Ordaz-Perez and Perez tell the chairman the applicant, in this case, Nord S. Sorensen, "Failed to obtain proper permits and approvals from the City of El Paso to operate within the proposed site."

Ordaz-Perez first sounded the alarm in October of 2018 when TCEQ approved the medical waste facility without letting City, County and state leaders know about the facility.

Subsequently, a public hearing drew homeowners near the facility, as well as Sorensen. Homeowners and leaders argued the facility was too close to schools, parks and churches.

The facility was approved a second time after the public hearing.

The letter to the TCEQ chairman further states, "The applicant also failed to secure permits from the local water utility to discharge into the sewage system." 

Ramirez hopes the letter sent to TCEQ will halt the opening of the facility. In case the commission proceeds with approval of the medical waste facility, Ramirez has a message to the owner of that facility: "Consider the impact on the impact on the community. You know, it's not something that we're gonna take lightly. And 'm sure I'm not the only community member which will try to get rid of it or vote against it. So, I'm pretty sure its not gonna be an easy fight if it does happen." 

This letter urges the commission to overturn it's decision granting approval of the facility.

As for Sorensen, he told ABC-7, "I don't have any comment but we're pretty adamant about opening up there. Thank you for calling."
 


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