By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON – Residents asked questions Dec. 18 at a public hearing for the proposed installation of equipment at the DTE Trenton Channel Power Plant, held by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
The meeting, held at Trenton City Hall, had residents wondering why a power plant scheduled to close in 2023 would invest in new equipment for the power plant, which is currently in compliance with air quality standards. DTE was not present at the meeting, but speculation was voiced that the likelihood of tax credits provided financial incentive.
Jeff Korninski of the DEQ said the plant will be forced to close in five to six years if it does not come into compliance with clean water regulations, notably the impact of effluence.
Trenton Refined Coal LLC has proposed the installation and operation of a new sulfur dioxide and mercury control system on existing boiler 9A at the power plant, 4695 W. Jefferson, Trenton. A public comment period is required before a conditional permit to install can be granted.
The installation and operation of the system also requires the plant to revise its provisional operating permit.
The plant currently has five boilers that burn pulverized coal, oil and recovered paint solids, often the byproducts of automotive paint operations.
The new system on boiler 9A will reduce emissions from the boiler by treating coal with additives before it is burned. Two reagents are applied and blended with the coal prior to combustion. The additives will be sprayed onto the coal as it moves to the boiler on the conveying system.
The additives are calcium bromide and calcium aluminum silicate. A dust control plan is included in the equipment proposal, officials said.
The combustion system in the boiler will remain unchanged. The amount of fuel burned and electricity generated for southeast Michigan will also remain the same, officials said.
Mark Mitchell of the DEQ said the branch of the agency charged with ensuring clean air in Michigan will continue to monitor emissions from the plant, with monitoring stations in Wyandotte and Allen Park. He said the DEQ also monitors the air quality from auto plants and steel mills.
Mitchell said that while they monitor air quality, his division does not monitor water quality. They also do not monitor noise or other issues that impact quality of life, like zoning and traffic issues brought about by industrial plants.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected].)