Petroleum coke could become permanent fixture
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said a freighter is scheduled to transport material down river
The piles of petroleum coke on the U.S. side of the Detroit River may shrink in the near future, but they likely won't disappear.
Officials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said early assessments on the substance have been done and there's no data yet to suggest it's not safe.
At the end of the week, a freighter is scheduled to arrive and begin the transport of the material to an unknown user.
"It is our understanding that has not been confirmed, that this site will be used continuously to store and load barges and/or freighters with this material," the DEQ wrote in a briefing paper March 14.
Michigan officials said it could be shipped to a power plant in Monroe, Mich., an hour southwest of Windsor.
According to the DEQ, the DTE Monroe Power Plant downriver has been approved to burn up to 23,652 tons of pet coke per month.
In a letter addressed to Detroit Bulk Storage, the company storing the pet coke, the DEQ requested that the company come up with a plan to contain the "fugitive dust" from the piles and to also prevent it from leaching into the water.
Calls to the company placed by CBC News went unanswered, but the State said it suspects the site across from Windsor's sculpture garden and the one further west down river is likely to be used for long-term storage and transport.
Detroit Bulk Storage has two weeks to respond to the department's request for a more detailed plan.
Coun. Alan Halberstadt still doesn't think the riverfront is a good location for storing the coke.
"It's unfortunate that we don't have rules or they can't enforce rules to say, 'no, it's not a good location,'" he said.
Several Windsor residents have said the piles are eyesores on the riverfront.
Even tourist Melissa Snow, visiting from Australia, said it detracts from the skyline.
"The black stuff over there is not so colourful. It's not a nice sight when you look at something so beautiful as Detroit and coming over on this side. It's distracting," she said.