They were definitely an eyesore and there's a chance massive piles of petroleum coke, known as pet coke, will return to the shores of the Detroit River, which has a lot of people upset.
As a result, it was standing-room only at public meeting with the state's Department of Environmental Quality.
Do you want gigantic piles of pet coke in your neighborhood? For the people who turned out Wednesday night for the public meeting with the DEQ, the answer is a resounding no.
Last year, the big black piles had to be removed by Detroit Bulk Storage from the spot they'd been sitting on in Detroit. That company is appealing that decision and looking to move them about 8 miles downriver to Great Lakes Street in River Rouge.
Pet coke is an oil tar sands byproduct. The biggest issue is the dust that comes from it. The DEQ would require Detroit Bulk Storage to come up with a way to manage the dust before any sort of permit would be granted.
"There are folks in this room that simply don't like fossil fuels, and for those folks, we can't help them -- that's a part of life here in southeast Michigan," said Brad Wurfel, of DEQ. "We've got a refinery, we've got -- petroleum coke is a commodity that's traded around the world as energy. So what were trying to figure how to do is not how to curtail on our activity but how to do it safely so that it protects the public's help and protects the environment."