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E-M:/ Heritage Sunday: Quarry faces new charge of odor nuisance



NOTE CORRECTIONS TO THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE:
My name is spelled LeMonde not LaMonde (incorrect despite a repeat call from the reporter concerning the correct spelling)

I never stated I checked my kitchen for this odor.  What was stated was that when I handed out contact info for the MDEQ line in Lansing to apartment residents that one person told me she had noted a very strong odor of sulfur and was checking around her apartment for it.  She was not aware there was a rock quarry the other side of the berm that edges the property of the rock quarry across Fort St.

The Wayne County hotline was changed to the central Lansing line in January.  Wayne county did not even have the new number at that time.  The message on the MDEQ line is intimidating.  It asks if one is calling to report a hazardous release that could endanger life.  Most people aren't aware of the potential for problems with sulfur, and simply hang up.
Most people in the apartment complex were not aware that the "Detroit Edison Property" sign on the fence across the way conceals a rock quarry, and hence, not aware of the origins of the sulfur.

My mother, who is 77 years old had a coal burning furnace when she was young.  To her the odor smells more like the fumes from her old coal furnace.  I, personally have no basis for comparison.  However, black fumes have been noted from the Trenton Channel coal burning candy caned stack to the south, while the northern stack was white.  Steven Weiss informs me he believes DTE has been fined for these emissions, as others had  also complained about it.

Mike Smith has been very sympathetic and appears to be attempting various changes to reduce the problem.  This cooperation is greatly appreciated.

This "odor" was strong enough this past Thursday night that after filing my latest complaint with the MDEQ hotline around 1AM I ended up sleeping in my car near the Riverview library parking lot.  I can't handle any more nights of choking on sulfur fumes.

This has been reported ongoing since January of this year.  Steven Weiss told me on the phone that the odor is noticeable in the quarry itself and assumes that with night time temperature differentials it creates a breeze from the river toward the west over the rock quarry.  The heated rock from daytime sunlight then gives off the odor more strongly under these conditions, and heads directly across Fort St toward my apartment windows..



Heritage Sunday
A Heritage Newspaper
Quarry faces new charge of odor nuisance

By Marla McMackin, Heritage Newspapers
http://www.heritagesunday.com/news/R01IMM1.asp?ID=147

RIVERVIEW — The Sibley Limestone quarry, often plagued by resident complaints over blasting, is facing a new problem.

Linda LaMonde says offensive sulfur odors from the facility are making her sick.

"It burns my nose, throat and lips," she said. "Areas of my face burn and I would even feel it the next day."

LaMonde has lived for almost two years in the Greentrees apartment complex across Fort Street from the quarry.

The first time she noticed the odor, she said she thought it was her garbage or a sewer problem. Ever since January, she said it has gotten continually worse — especially on warm nights when the wind blows to the west.

"I get asthmatic reactions and get to the point where I can almost not breathe," she said.

Steven Weiss of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality air quality division is in charge of the investigation.

"It’s been mainly one person complaining," he said. "I wouldn’t discount it at this point. But at this point, I wouldn’t confirm anything, either."

Weiss said limestone in the quarry is characterized by sulfur springs, which continually flow out of pores in the stone or where it is excavated, forcing the odor to be released.

But part of normal operations at the quarry, Weiss added, is to manage its flow and accumulation.

"They take the sulfur water and pump it out of the quarry," he said. "And they meet all the regulations on that."

Weiss said that although he has not experienced the odor himself, he is available to LaMonde 24 hours a day.

"I would like to go out there when she is noticing it," he said. "The next time I get a complaint at that time of day or night, I will go out there. I think what she is describing is pretty bad."

Mike Smith, general manager of Sibley Limestone, said the odor is not any stronger than it has always been.

"She is the only resident I’m aware of that’s complaining," he said, adding that the company is monitoring the situation and making changes to the water-drainage system.

Normally it is pumped into collection ponds in the quarry.

"There was a point where it was shooting in the air," he said. "We laid that down so it is actually underwater so it doesn’t aerate."

Smith said he didn’t yet know if it would be affective.

"This is our response and we’re still monitoring that to see what effects that might have," he said. "We’re not opposed to trying anything that might help."

City Manager James Feudner said the city has received occasional odor complaints over the years.

"I would say nowhere in the same proportion as the blasting complaints," he said.

Weiss said that with or without excavating activity at the quarry, the water would still pour out of the stone and accumulate in ponds that emit the offensive odor.

"With the operations going on now, someone is making an effort to get the water out," he said.

Staff Writer Marla McMackin can be reached at 1-734-246-0860 or mmcmackin@heritage.com.



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