Summary: After many controversial decades, in March of 2019, the company that owns Detroit’s incinerator announced that it would be shutting down permanently due to financial and extensive repairs costing more than 140 million dollars. This facility has been raising concerns in the community for years because of the odor and noises it gives off along with violations of state permits. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality records show that the incinerator exceeded pollution emissions standards more than 750 times within the last five years along with being penalized nearly 50 times for odor that forced neighbors to stay inside. There have been reports that the Detroit incinerator emits nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and lead into the atmosphere. This has led to increased rates of asthma in the community surrounding the incinerator for years. The community is happy to finally have cleaner air for their children to grow up in.
This facility provided power to Detroit’s downtown and midtown areas through a steam loop. The power is now coming from Detroit Thermal through natural gas. The city transferred the trash contract to another company and the rates were locked in through the remainder of the contract (expires in 2021) therefore there will be no added costs for taxpayers. The next step for this site will include environmental and soil testing. This more than likely will result in remediation.
Now that the incinerator is closed, the city of Detroit will have the ability to influence what comes next for the property. The community is hopeful for the future after the city said they would not implement a new waste incinerator and started taking legal action to make this stay true.
Why we should care? Since the incinerator is one of the worst polluters in Detroit, this permanent shut down will help improve the overall health of Detroit’s community.
Example News Article:
This article discusses the abrupt shut down of Detroit’s Incinerator. It came as a surprise to the community of Detroit that their controversial neighbor would be leaving forever. I found the amount of violations they broke interesting. I can’t believe that even though there are regulations for places like this to protect the health of the community they still decide to break them. It makes you wonder if the people in charge lived in the community and had family members that inhaled the air everyday if they would have made different decisions with what they release into the air.
Science in Action.
Dr. Joe Schwarcz is the Director for the Office for Science and Society at McGill University.
Dr. Joe Schwarcz is well known for his public lectures on various scientific topics. He has won numerous awards for teaching chemistry and interpreting science. Dr. Joe Schwarcz wrote an article about pollution from incinerators. This article is relevant to this topic because he gives pros and cons to incinerator use. Most articles that are found relating to incinerator use are on the negative impacts they have on the environment and the community health. As mentioned in the article it is hard to decide what the correct opinion is because although incinerators produce greenhouse gases, landfills produce methane which could be argued is worse. The article just goes to show that there isn’t an easy answer when it comes to eliminating or storing trash.