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The stink that forces KT Andresky and others to close windows, stay inside and take detours around the neighborhood is described as “rotting fish that smells kind of chalky, sometimes mixed with a strong chemical smell — almost like a Sharpie marker.”
“It’s disgusting,” said Andresky, who lives about a mile east of a hazardous waste treatment facility in Detroit that state regulators are cracking down on for chronic nuisance odors that documents show date back at least 25 years.
Earlier this week, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) announced a consent order with Idaho-based U.S. Ecology, which agreed to investigate the problem and propose ways to reduce odors escaping its Detroit-South facility at 1923 Frederick Street.
The facility, formerly known as EQ Detroit, treats hazardous industrial waste and landfill leachate. It is adjacent to the former Detroit Renewable Power trash incinerator that, until last year, was itself a controversial source of noxious odors until it closed following years of air quality complaints.
The waste treatment plant owners had an easy scapegoat for odor complaints while in the shadow of the incinerator. But the trash-burning is over and the industrial stink in the area continues. The EGLE air quality division has written U.S. Ecology five nuisance odor citations since the nearby incinerator shut down in March 2019.