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EPA cites city of Wyandotte municipal power plant for clean-air violations

Release Date: 06/05/2006
Contact Information: William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254,

No. 06-OPA090

CHICAGO (June 5, 2006) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has cited the city of Wyandotte, Mich., for alleged clean-air violations at its municipal power plant, 2555 Van Alstyne.

EPA alleges the plant failed to comply with emission limits in its state operating permit and in state regulations on opacity, which is the amount of light obscured by particulates such as smoke, dust and ash. The plant was also cited for excessive releases of nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide.

"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur. "We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act."

These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. Wyandotte has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

Inhaling high concentrations of particulates can affect children, the elderly and people with heart and lung conditions.

Nitrogen oxides contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of air pollutants is baked in the hot summer sun. Smog can cause a variety of respiratory problems, including coughing and wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. People with asthma, children and the elderly are especially at risk, but these concerns are important to everyone.

When carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream, it reduces delivery of oxygen to the body's organs and tissues. Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can impair vision, hand movement, learning ability and performance of complex tasks, and can cause death.

Exposure to sulfur dioxide can impair breathing, aggravate existing respiratory diseases like bronchitis and reduce the ability of the lungs to clear foreign particles. Sulfur dioxide can cause acid rain and contribute to fine particle pollution. Children, the elderly and people with heart and lung conditions are the most sensitive to sulfur dioxide.

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