No smoking: Detroit incinerator shuts down

According to Covanta Energy, minority owner and operator of Detroit’s waste-to-energy incinerator, the facility that burns Detroit’s municipal waste has shut down because of “economic factors,”according to a company statement.

The main cause of those difficulties is an ability to negotiate a contract with Detroit Thermal, which previously bought steam produced at the incinerator. When the contract expired with no new agreement in place on Oct. 1, the facility could not afford to keep operating.

The Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority, which is responsible for overseeing disposal of the city’s municipal waste, has had a contingency plan in place that involves trucking the Detroit’s garbage to landfills. It is unclear at the moment if that plan has yet been implemented.

Covanta also tells Metro Times that the three-month option period for a purchase agreement with thermal Ventures II, the parent company of Detroit Thermal, expired at the end of September with no agreement being reached.

“We are still exploring scenarios with a myriad of stakeholders in Detroit. If the right agreements can be reached, the plant will reopen,” Covanta said in its statement.

Detroit Thermal provides steam to an underground loop that heats and cools 146 buildings downtown. The system remains operable, with Detroit Thermal producing its own steam by burning natural gas.

(See more in this week's News Hits.)

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