DEQ Submits Plan to Lower Sulfur Dioxide Emissions in Wayne County

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has devised a plan to lower sulfur dioxide emissions in a highly polluted area of Wayne County by 2018. The area, which includes southwest Detroit, Melvindale, Ecorse, and River Rouge, was cited for not meeting federal air quality standards in 2013. Under a new policy submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the DEQ will keep emissions low by shutting down boilers at two DTE Energy Power plants in River Rouge and Trenton. The agency will also require Carmeuse Lime & Stone to raise the height of its smokestack. The DEQ says it’s working with U.S. Steel to craft a specific plan by the end of the year. Air Quality Division Chief Lynn Fiedler says working with industries is a long process.

Reducing emissions causes them to change their business habits and that isn’t easy and is often expensive. It just takes time. That’s why the Clean Air Act process gives people five years to attain the standard.”

Lynn Fiedler, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Air Quality Division Chief

Fiedler says current readings of air quality meters show the area to be under the existing federal limits, but the new measures will keep emissions low during times of increased production. The EPA says sulfur dioxide pollution can cause adverse respiratory problems like asthma.

Image credit: Nathan Bishop, Flickr

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