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“Thank God that smell is gone”: Detroit incinerator to be demolished after decades of complaints

“Thank God that smell is gone”: Detroit incinerator to be demolished after decades of complaints
June 6, 2022 Michigan Radio

By Briana Rice, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water. This independent journalism is supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Find all the work HERE.


A Detroit trash incinerator will be demolished after decades of complaints about air pollution and strong odors of rotten eggs and rotting garbage.

The incinerator has been cited many times for violating air quality standards.

Mayor Mike Duggan says it will be demolished beginning this summer and should be gone by the end of the year.

Adam Verville says he has lived near the incinerator for 15 years.

“The really like sweet rot odor was like my least favorite. Some days it would be so intense you couldn’t even open your windows or really enjoy being outdoors because it was so intense and constant,” he said.

Duggan has not yet announced what the city plans to do with the land.

“We want to be part of the discussions to make sure that investments continues to be made in this community or begins, or starts to happen in this community,” she said.

Duggan says a majority of the buildings on the 15-acre lot will be demolished and then salvaged for parts.

The plant, originally built and operated by the city of Detroit in 1989, was permanently closed in 2019.

Since it opened in 1989, the incinerator cost the city approximately $500 million.

“The presence of this incinerator has been a real pain point for this community because it was another example of a health hazard being placed in a lower-income community of color,” Duggan said in a press release. “We worked hard behind the scenes to get the incinerator shut down, and now residents of this neighborhood will finally be able to say goodbye to it forever.”

He says the electricity will be shut off next week and that he hopes the demolition process will begin in June and be completed within six months.

“Thank God that smell is gone,” said Pastor Barry Randolph.


Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

Great Lakes Moment: Rewilding Metropolitan Detroit

Detroit City Council wants to make Detroit River a World Heritage Site


Featured image: Detroit River. (Photo Credit: Lester Graham/Michigan Radio)

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