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SW Detroit residents want 'transparency' involving Marathon refinery emissions

Nathan Bishop

People living near the Marathon refinery in southwest Detroit are calling for “more transparency” after a foul odor from the plant descended on surrounding neighborhoods Sunday.

The source of the odors was a malfunctioning flare gas system which allowed hydrogen sulfide and other compounds to be released into the air.

Officials insist the release did not exceed any health standards. But neighbors claim the “rotten egg” stench caused coughing, vomiting, dizziness and headaches. Many complain of receiving conflicting information for what to do on Sunday.  

Resident Theresa Landrum doesn’t trust what she’s being told. 

“We don’t just want to see the company reporting to the MDEQ or the EPA,” says Landrum. “They need to have full disclosure to theresidents that are impacted by these emissions.”

A press release from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the department will continue to coordinate with EPA and the City of Detroit on air monitoring and response activities related to the malfunction of the coker flare gas system and resulting odors from the Marathon refinery in Detroit.

State and local officials are planning to hold a follow up meeting with the refinery operators Tuesday.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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