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City to complete yearlong incinerator demolition on June 11 with implosion of smokestack

2023
  • Most of complex already dismantled, smokestack expected to fall during early morning hours on Sunday, June 11
  • Facility burned up to 5000 tons of trash per day before closing in 2019 after pressure from the City
  • Experienced contractors putting safety as top priority
  • City informing and educating businesses and residents in the mostly-industrial area what to expect

The City of Detroit today announced that the final phase of the yearlong process of demolishing the former Waste Energy Facility – commonly known as the trash incinerator – will take place the morning of June 11th with the controlled implosion of the facility’s iconic smokestack.

For 34 years, the incinerator’s stack has stood over the I-94/I-75 interchange and had a troubled history of releasing harmful fumes that irritated neighbors. In 2019, after pressure from the City of Detroit to invest in air quality improvements, Detroit Renewable Power announced it would cease its trash burning operations at the complex. Since that time, Detroit household trash has been taken to landfills outside the city limits.

Last May, the Detroit Building Authority selected Homrich Wrecking as the company to perform the demolition following a competitive bid process.  As part of its proposal, Homrich has been selling scrap metals from the facility, which is generating approximately $1.3 million that will cover the cost of the demolition.  Any surplus proceeds will go to the Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority (GDRRA).

Safety is first priority

All hazardous materials inside the complex were safely removed and properly disposed of prior to dismantling and demolition proceeding.  Dykon Explosive Demolition will be demolishing the smokestack through the use of controlled explosives that will cause the tower to fall westerly on the incinerator property, away from the closest residential area.

“The full demolition of the incinerator is a relief to many people in the city,” Tyrone Clifton, director of the Detroit Building Authority. “We owe it to them to remove this unwanted structure from their community in as safe a manner as possible, and we have the best team in place to do that.”

Residents have known for a year the complex was being dismantled and eventually would be entirely removed.  In April, the city began notifying community organizations that the stack would come down sometime in June.  Although there are no residences inside the impact area of the implosion, the Department of Neighborhoods last week began conducting door-to-door outreach homes outside the impact area to notify them of the June 11 implosion date and provide detailed information.

Prior to the implosion, workers will close Russell and Ferry streets to establish a safety perimeter.  Crews also will conduct wetting with water misting machines before, during and after the implosion to contain dust.  Immediately after the event, cleanup teams will begin cleaning roads and sidewalks in the immediate area.  Workers also will be checking air quality and conducting vibration monitoring before and after the event.

Although there are no residential structures inside the impact area, residents closest to the area may wish to keep windows closed as a precaution.

Once the smokestack is down, the completion of the Waste Energy Facility will be completed by July.  At this time the future use of the site has not been determined.

Incinerator demolition map