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Detroit Marathon refinery determines source of foul odor

Source of odor is a flare at the refinery not functioning properly

DETROIT – Jamal T. Kheiry, communications manager of Marathon Petroleum Corporation released a statement explaining the source of the foul odor from its Detroit refinery.  

Residents across Metro Detroit, primarily from southwest Detroit and Dearborn complained about the foul smell Sunday morning. The Marathon Oil Refinery is located in Southwest Detroit. 

ORIGINAL STORY: Marathon confirms foul gas odor is from its Detroit refinery

New update from Marathon: 

"Marathon Petroleum has implemented processes at its Detroit refinery to stop a release from a flare that is not functioning properly. These processes have significantly reduced the amount of material flowing to the flare since this morning.

In order to conduct repairs to the flare, we are also removing the contents of various vessels connected to the flare. We are conducting this work as safely and as quickly as possible, and we anticipate completion by the end of the day tomorrow, Feb. 4. Although there has been an odor from the release, our ongoing air monitoring has not detected dangerous levels of any substances. We believe the odor is largely from mercaptan, a substance added to natural gas to give it a detectable smell. We will continue to conduct air monitoring on a constant basis in nearby communities as a precaution, and are making our air-monitoring data available to regulatory and emergency response agencies.

We apologize for the inconvenience to the community, and we are conducting a thorough investigation to determine what caused this release. Once determined, will implement the necessary corrective actions so that this does not happen again."

Statement from Marathon: 

"Marathon Petroleum has determined that the source of the odor is a flare at the refinery that is not functioning properly and needs to be repaired. In order to make repairs, we must de-activate the flare. Flares are safety devices that allow us to safely combust excess materials at the refinery, and we are working on de-activating the flare as safely and quickly as possible.

We have deployed air-monitoring resources in affected areas, and although there is an odor, we have not detected dangerous levels of any substances. We are making our air-monitoring data available to emergency responders and regulatory agencies.

We apologize to the community for the odor and the inconvenience. Our highest priority is the safety of the community where we operate and those who work at our refinery. We will continue to work as safely end quickly as possible to resolve this matter. We are conducting a thorough investigation to determine what caused this release, and we will implement the necessary corrective actions so that this does not happen again."


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