Midtown residents hit with unpleasant trash odors from Detroit Incinerator

Group wants to shut facility down

DETROIT – In recent weeks, some Midtown residents have been hit with foul smells from the Detroit Renewable Power facility.

Daniel Axelson and his wife purchased a townhouse in Midtown a year ago. He said he didn't realize how close the home was to the Detroit Incinerator, but now he's paying the price by dealing with the smell of garbage that lingers for days.

"It's not something you catch a whiff of," he said. "It's hanging over the area."

Arthur Bridgeforth Jr. has lived in the shadow of the facility and its smell for a decade.

"When it happens, we go, 'Here we go again, it's the incinerator,' and we've had little recourse on what to really do," Bridgeforth said.

Breathe Free Detroit has collected nearly 15,000 signatures in an attempt to get the city to shut down the incinerator when the contract ends in three years.

"We cannot continue business as normal because that's putting poison into our kids lungs," said Kim Hunter with Breathe Free Detroit.

The city owns the land, but the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality regulates the facility. MDEQ has issued fines.

Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Sheffield said she's open to options when the contact is up.

"I believe there needs to be some changes, and what worked in past may not work now," she said.

Detroit Renewable Energy provided a statement regarding the problem. Read it below:

Detroit Renewable Energy was recently acquired by a new owner, which have put in place a new management team to reposition the company going forward. As a modern waste-to-energy facility, Detroit Renewable Power generates clean, renewable energy in the form of electricity and steam by safely processing municipal solid waste. We’re proud to supply steam to more than 100 buildings in the city and to generate enough electricity to power 66,000 homes annually, all with the dedicated work of our 300 local employees. We are actively making investments in the facility to improve operations and to limit community impact, especially in the areas of mitigating noise and nuisance odors. We are committed to sustainability and green energy, and proactive engagement with our community.

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