Marathon refinery fumes spark concern over air quality at town hall

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On Tuesday residents were upset at a Detroit City Council town hall meeting about fumes coming from the Marathon refinery.

"It's offensive that Marathon is sitting there chilling like this community isn't going through hell on a daily basis," said an agitated resident.

Those who live nearby are fed up with the strong odor from the Petroleum plant in southwest Detroit on a regular basis. 

Usually the smell is contained to that area. But in early February people as far away as Warren could smell it. Marathon said the odor was related to a flare that needed to be repaired. 

"We had multiple residents call 911 in a panic based on the odor that was emitted from Marathon," said Erin Byrnes, Dearborn City Council. "We had residents who were leaving their homes in the middle of the night, packing up their children for fear of their ability to breathe. This is unacceptable."

Marathon says air quality testing revealed that there were no dangerous levels of any substances released into the air on that particular occasion or on any other.

"This chart shows that we only contribute 3 percent of the emissions in a two-mile radius," said a representative of Marathon.

But people at the town hall meeting don't believe it.

"I am so sick of that little two percent pie (chart), can we just smash that and kill it," said one resident. "Marathon is 100 percent of my problem, our problems. We can't breathe in our houses and we are all sick, we are miserable. It is a horrible situation."

"Please take the corporate lead and do something that will help increase the quality of life for all the citizens of Detroit and surrounding areas," said another resident.

While there were representatives from Marathon at the town hall meeting, they did answers questions from the audience and city council did not take any action.