HIRAM, Ga. -- A company that wants to build a medical waste facility in Paulding County is meeting resistance from residents who live and work near the site, who say it’s not welcomed there.
Marietta-based RedX Medical, LLC has plans to build the facility just outside of Hiram and near one of Paulding County's busiest thoroughfares, putting it close to businesses, restaurants and even a school.
The plant will process medical waste including bandages, needles and other hospital refuse. There are three other medical waste facilities like it in Georgia not owned by RedX – two in the metro area and one near Savannah.
The company insists the facility would be completely safe and could fill a need for hospitals across the state. But opponents remain concerned.
“It’s basically the heart of Paulding County,” resident Tami Holtzclaw told 11Alive News. The plant would sit in an area zoned industrial, just off U.S. 278, less than a mile from one of the busiest commercial areas in Paulding County. The industrial area is mostly woods -- vacant lots.
But while the land is zoned for heavy industry, Holtzclaw, who lives just behind the proposed site, said there are more remote areas of Paulding County that would be better for such a facility.
Holtzclaw and other residents said they would prefer to see the facility locate at, perhaps, an industrial park in the Dallas area, or near the landfill in the northern part of Paulding County. They point out that commercial and residential growth has boomed in the area around the proposed site, while there has been little or no demand for industry there. So they are calling on the county to re-zone the area, to reflect demand.
“I’m worried about my property value and just what it’s going to do to the environment,” Holtzclaw said.
If the plan is approved, it would be the first medical processing facility that RedX has built. Opponents say that means the company has no track record, yet, of safety and compliance.
But Jeff Locke with RedX told 11Alive News that the facility would be strictly monitored and regulated by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. In addition, all medical waste would be treated inside the facility. There would be no incinerators, and nothing toxic or otherwise hazardous would be released into the air or into the county's waste water system.
There will be one required public hearing (the only one) at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Paulding County Commission, 240 Constitution Blvd., Dallas. After that, decisions on all the permit applications could be weeks away.
(© 2016 WXIA)