State orders Marathon refinery to correct odor violations

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News
The Marathon oil refinery in Detroit on Feb. 4, 2019.

State environmental officials have issued a violation notice to Marathon Petroleum Co. after receiving a barrage of odor complaints about the southwest Detroit oil refinery.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said it sent an official from the air quality division to the South Oakwood facility on Feb. 2 and 3. The environmental engineer found vent gases were not being combusted and detected odors beyond the facility's property line.

Extreme cold was believed to be the cause of a flare system malfunction at the oil refinery early this month that lead to odors that sparked health concerns. Residents who lived nearby were encouraged to stay indoors.

Marathon officials acknowledged at the time it was the source of a "rotten egg" odor but added they had not detected any dangerous levels of substances.

Marathon said it was monitoring air in affected areas and was hoping to complete repairs earlier this months.

But state officials on Monday told Marathon to "initiate actions necessary to correct the cited violations and submit a written response" to the charge by March 15.

Marathon officials could not be reached for comment.

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