It’s the decision Mansfield resident Mike Slataper has waited months for – but not the one he wanted to hear.
“It’s not something I’m happy with,” said Slataper. “I was certainly hoping they’d turn it down.”
Thursday, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved an application from Dallas-based RedAway LLC to operate a medical waste treatment facility in Mansfield.
The company is eyeing an existing building near the intersection of Sentry Drive and South 2nd Avenue. Items like used medical instruments, surgical gloves and gowns, blood products and other solid waste would be stored and processed at the site, then trucked out for disposal.
Several schools and subdivisions are within a few blocks of that location.
“Regardless of how well they manage it, there is a significant risk that we don’t need to take,” said Slataper. “Why would we want them here?”
Slataper has been fighting the project since last fall, when the TCEQ began accepting public comments on it. Dozens of other citizens, the Mansfield ISD school board and Mansfield Mayor David Cook have joined him in opposing the facility.
“Obviously we were very disappointed [in the TCEQ’s ruling],” said Cook. “I think it’s a very poor land use with the surrounding uses. We have lots of homes, lots of schools in the immediate area.”
Despite the state agency’s ruling, the facility isn’t a done deal yet. RedAway still has to apply for a specific use permit from the city, which also has to be approved before it would be allowed to open.
“I’m convinced that the city, the school district, all the public people, all the private people, everyone is going to fight this,” said Slataper.
Cook says he and other city leaders have been in direct contact with RedAway and are working to convince the company to find a different location for this facility.
“That’s certainly a win-win for the city and for RedAway as well,” said Cook.
NBC 5 reached out to RedAway for reaction and to respond to concerns about the facility. A person who answered the phone said CEO Justin Smith was out of town and would not be available to comment until next week.
Cook tells NBC 5 the city will appeal the TCEQ’s ruling.