Detroit area at risk due to waste plant emissions

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DETROIT (AP) — A $143 million facility that converts human waste from a wastewater plant into fertilizer has exceeded its permitted emission levels of toxins, adding harmful pollutants to an area that already has the most polluted air in metro Detroit.

The Detroit Free Press reviewed data showing the Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant has exceeded the one-hour emission standard for sulfur dioxide over 2,500 times from April 2016 through February 2017.

The emissions are particularly problematic in neighborhoods around the facility, which are already considered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in “non-attainment” of the federal Clean Air Act’s air-quality standard for sulfur dioxide.

Suzanne Coffey, interim CEO for wastewater with Great Lakes Water Authority, says the emission exceedance is a “natural part” of getting “a large, new facility” up and running.

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