By Jon King /

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) has approved a wetland permit being sought by a Howell company planning to install a controversial industrial shredder.

Padnos Iron and Metal, on Lucy Road, in Howell, already has an air permit for the shredder. Following an August public hearing before EGLE’s Water Resources Division, a wetlands permit was issued Tuesday allowing the company to fill in .85-acres of wetlands they argued had been created incidentally by work on the land by the previous owner. They will also replace two culverts. In exchange, Padnos will buy wetlands bank credits.

Residents who commented at the public hearing in August claimed that Padnos should be denied the permit as it had not fulfilled requirements that the project needed to be in the public’s best interest or benefit. Concerns were also raised that contaminants currently located on the land will runoff onto adjacent land. One of the conditions of the permit is that “all adjacent non-work wetland areas shall be protected by properly trenched sedimentation barrier to prevent sediment from entering the wetland.”

Howell Attorney Don Parker represents Protect Livingston, a group opposed to the shredder. He claimed that while the site plan calls for a paved road, the details show intent to construct it out of gravel that would add to the runoff concerns. Parker added that stormwater and cleaning water that have contact with the shredder could have oil, gasoline and other contaminants that will seep into the ground more easily with gravel. He asked EGLE to require the road be paved, that water discharge be treated, and that they be required to connect to the sewer system to prevent septic seepage. In granting the permit, however, EGLE required none of those conditions of the company. Meanwhile, a request by PADNOS to join the MHOG Water Authority was denied by that organization’s board, prompting speculation that a lawsuit could be filed to force the issue.