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Plan to Move Pet Coke Piles Downriver Gets Airing at Wednesday DEQ Meeting

The mostly carbon black dust sparked complaints in southwest Detroit last year; critics say proposal just moves the problem Downriver.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality plans to hold a public informational meeting in Wyandotte Wednesday to answer questions about large petroleum coke piles Detroit Bulk Storage wants to store  on a 15-acre riverfront site at 530 W. Lakes St. in River Rouge.

The informational meeting is planned from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday the Grand Harbor Banquet Event Center, 1 St. John St. in Wyandotte, the Detroit Free Press reports.

DEQ air and water quality specialists will answer questions about the DEQ’s regulatory role and share information about the analysis of pet coke – a high-carbon byproduct of tar sands oil refineries that is used as a relatively dirty-burning fuel – completed by the agency last fall.

>>> Read the permit application.

The mostly carbon black dust from the four-story high piles sparked complaints in the southwest Detroit neighborhood where they were located last year, and now it’s a matter of moving the problem to Downriver communities, which are more industrial, but also have residential areas, said two Wyandotte men who were fishing on the Detroit River last week.

“I don’t want that at all,” Harry Marx, 51, told the newspaper. “That dust blowing into the water? The river is finally coming back.”

Bob Griggs, 52, said moving the pet coke piles Downriver would deal an environmental blow that would affect one of the state’s best walleye fisheries and a stretch of the Detrot River that is used as habitat for Canada geese, swans and bald eagles.

“If that stuff gets on the water, they and the fish will ingest it,” he said. “And what happens if it makes it to the bottom of the river?”

Noel Frye, a vice president at Detroit Bulk Storage, discounted the environmental concerns and said the site in question has been used recently for the storage of limestone, salt and trap rock, and for pet coke a few years ago.

“I haven’t had a complaint on that facility, as far as environmental goes, in all the time that we’ve been there,” he said. “We’ve been there for 30 years and most people don’t even know we exist down there.”

DISCUSS: What do you think about the proposal before the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to move petroleum coke storage facilities Downriver? Tell us below in the comments.
michelle March 04, 2014 at 09:59 AM
Great...if there have been no issues or complaints than leave it where it is at. Don't move someone else's issue Downriver. If they don't want it, we don't either.
waterboy March 04, 2014 at 04:04 PM
we are still downstream from that area so it can still affect us
michelle March 05, 2014 at 09:55 AM
Oh, I'm not saying it is a good thing to have, even further up the river. I'm just saying they don't need to relocate it even closer to us. Obviously it would be good not to have around in the first place. I just said if there "Are no complaints" then keep it where it is and do not move it further south.

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