A third-party investigation has been completed.
What began last October might now finally have a conclusion following a prolonged community struggle. Stellantis, the parent company of Jeep, has announced plans to install more emissions controls at its new Mack Avenue plant, also known as the Detroit Assembly Complex - Mack.
This 2.5 million square foot facility, home of the Grand Cherokee L, began emitting a strong odor to local neighborhoods in late August that was traced back to its paint shops. A subsequent investigation by the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) soon hit the facility with several violations for lacking emissions controls and proper air-quality permits. The smell persisted and local residents demanded answers.
Stellantis then hired a third party, RWDI Air Inc., to investigate the matter and promised state officials that the investigation would be completed by January 9, 2022. Stellantis has now formally announced a plan of action following a comprehensive investigation. Over a period of 13 days last October and November, 152 odor samples were taken from 42 different potential sources in the facility or nearby. The results have since indicated several corrective actions need to be taken to stop the stink once and for all.
First off, routing ducting modifications have already been made to the factory's existing emissions control system. Installing a new regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) and ducting is in process with the exhaust from two existing stacks set to be routed to this new system.
This should eliminate "odor contributing compounds." Plans are also in place to route the clean air exhaust from the existing concentrator to the stack of the new RTO. In addition, new "odor reducing technologies" will be added in specific locations identified as problematic. Stellantis says it's coordinating its cleanup efforts with EGLE and continues to monitor air quality. It further points out that sampling it performed late last year with the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the factory's odors reaching the local community do not pose a health risk.
Residents are not fully buying that and remained concerned about the potential long-term ramifications. They claim they've been breathing in this stinky air for months despite the cleanup efforts. Meanwhile, Grand Cherokee L production remains ongoing.