Jeep plant in Detroit cited by state for air quality violation

DETROIT — State environmental regulators say there’s a “moderate to strong” paint or solvent odor emitting from automaker Stellantis’ year-old Jeep assembly plant on Detroit’s east side.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy issued an air quality violation to the automaker last month after state regulators documented “persistent and objectionable paint/solvent odors of moderate intensity … impacting residential areas downwind of the facility,” according to a violation notice EGLE issued to Stellantis on Sept. 20.

EGLE’s air quality investigators documented the odors on three separate occasions — Aug. 27, Aug. 31 and Sept. 3 — after fielding complaints about nuisance odors, according to the violation notice.

During the first visit, the regulators said the paint and solvent odors were “of moderate intensity.” During the second and third inspections, they described the odors “moderate to strong intensity.”

The state air quality inspectors found the odors to be “objectionable and of sufficient intensity, duration and frequency” to violate state and federal clean air laws that prohibit emissions from heavy industrial facilities from causing an “unreasonable interference with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property,” EGLE’s violation notice said.

EGLE’s air equality violation notice at the plant that assembles Jeep Grand Cherokees was first reported Friday by the Detroit Free Press.

Stellantis’ Mack Avenue plant — now known as Detroit Assembly Complex Mack — opened last fall after the automaker invested $1.6 billion into melding two old engine plants together into the first new vehicle assembly plant in Detroit in nearly three decades.

Expanding the plant required assembling a smattering of nearby residential land, tearing out a section of St. Jean Street and eliminating a berm that used to block ground-level views of the plant from the adjoining West End residential neighborhood.

The assembly plant’s new paint shop sits closest to the residential neighborhood along Mack Avenue.

Jodi Tinson, a spokeswoman for Stellantis, said the automaker is still reviewing the recent violation notice from EGLE.

“We take all environmental issues seriously and understand our responsibility to be a good neighbor,” Tinson said Friday in a statement. “We are working with EGLE to identify and resolve any concerns in an affirmative manner.”

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