Jeep maker, state discuss accelerating odor controls at Detroit plant

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

The maker of Jeep SUVs says it's in talks to accelerate the implementation of equipment it says will help to address odors coming from the paint shop at its new plant in Detroit.

In response to a fourth violation last month from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy's Air Quality Division at Stellantis NV's Mack Assembly Plant, the automaker provided an update on its efforts to address the smell that has led to complaints and protests from residential neighbors.

The paint shop at Stellantis’ Detroit Assembly Complex on Mack has been identified as a source of odors coming from the plant.

Plant manager Michael Brieda, in a letter submitted to the state on Thursday, says the company is piloting odor control technologies that have "reduced the potential for nuisance odors in most circumstances."

The automaker also has plans for additional construction activities in response to a third-party investigation that found a high frequency of odor concentrations coming from the plant making Grand Cherokees. It is adding a second regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO), which destroys hazardous air pollutants, to limit odors from the Clearcoat flash and observation zones. It also will reroute the concentrator exhaust to a new stack. Such activities require state approval.

"FCA can address these zones with the odor control technologies, but the implementation of RTO2 will better address their potential nuisance odors," Brieda wrote. "As you know, FCA (Stellantis) and AQD continue to discuss the accelerated implementation of these construction activities. In the interim, FCA will focus on implementing the odor control technologies to minimize the risk of nuisance odors."

Federal and state regulators have said air sampling in the area hasn't shown any immediate health concerns, though EGLE is working with the automaker on an enforceable compliance plan, including a fine, because of the disturbance to homeowners. The RTO is a part of the compliance plan, which remains under review, according to EGLE.

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble