Power plant sparks action, resolution

‘This settlement follows years of cooperative negotiations with the EPA, and we’re pleased that this matter has been resolved in a manner that avoids litigation and significant fines.’
— Melanie McCoy
Wyandotte Municipal Services General Manager

By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — A settlement Wednesday between the city and the U.S. government should correct violations of federal air quality standards by Wyandotte Municipal Services for more than 10 years.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed a complaint and consent decree May 18, citing the city’s power plant’s violation of the Clean Air Act since 1997.

The resolution comes after years of negotiations following a 2007 notice of violation.

The decree calls for a fine of $112,000 and the installation of additional controls to reduce emissions, including a baghouse and low-nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide burners within three years for a cost of about $10 million.

A baghouse uses cloth to filter dust particles from gases. The decree also stipulates the use of “good coal handling practices,” among them the use of coal with a specified coal sulfur content.

A recent University of Michigan study found Wyandotte to be the second-most polluted city in the state, with a score of 1,475 on researchers’ toxicity scale. The average score, gleaned from self-reported pollution amounts, was 56.

Wyandotte Municipal Services General Manager Melanie McCoy said the resolution represents a positive outcome for all parties.

In addition to the commitment to install the emissions-reducing equipment, she said, the department also has taken other strides toward greener practices, such as volunteering to convert a portion of its vehicle fleet to natural gas.

“This settlement follows years of cooperative negotiations with the EPA,” McCoy said in a statement, “and we’re pleased that this matter has been resolved in a manner that avoids litigation and significant fines.

“We believe that under this settlement, we will be well positioned to meet current and anticipated requirements under the Clean Air Act.”

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