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It was definitely a problem by the time May rolled around, when the weather had warmed and she was leaving the windows open. But they didn’t stay open for long.
“The dust was getting everywhere,” she recalls. “On the floors, the windowsills, everywhere.”
In the building’s parking garage, it was so thick, footprints would be left behind when people walked across it, she says. And it wasn’t just the amount that caused concern. It was the way it felt: gritty and greasy.
Residents, local organizations and elected officials took issue with the possible impact of the coal-black material, a byproduct created when tar-like bitumen from the Alberta, Canada, oil sands is turned into gasoline. On a windy day, southwest Detroit neighborhoods were showered by the material, which was produced at the nearby Marathon Oil Refinery. Eventually, after a bevy of officials and activists called for protective action, Detroit Bulk Storage, the proprietor of the land where the petcoke mountains sat, agreed to halt storage.
The company which garnered international attention by storing petroleum coke along the Detroit River has applied to again put massive black mounds at the same location.
Detroit Bulk Storage has filed an appeal against the City of Detroit’s ruling last summer which rejected the company’s permit application to store petcoke on a riverfront industrial site at 1155 Rosa Parks Blvd. just east of the Ambassador Bridge.
The controversy over large petroleum coke piles stored along the Detroit River, and the uproar over the ubiquitous black dust that they spread throughout the southwest Detroit neighborhood where they were located, could be moving a few miles downriver.
And the issue is causing a dust-up among the potential new neighbors already.
Detroit Bulk Storage is seeking approval from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to openly store piles of pet coke and other materials on a 15-acre riverfront site at 530 W. Great Lakes St. in River Rouge, near the border with Ecorse