Portion of Presque Isle Power Plant demolition paused. Baghouse work halted

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MARQUETTE — The demolition of the Presque Isle Power Plant’s baghouse has been paused, according to officials.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy halted a portion of the demolition process due to concerns about dust coming from the demolition of a baghouse at the plant, EGLE officials said. A baghouse is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a device or facility in which particulates are removed from a stream of exhaust gases as the stream passes through a large cloth bag.”

EGLE spokesperson Nick Assendelft said the state agency has asked the demolition team to enclose the exposed portion of the baghouse to prevent further dust contamination. “At EGLE’s request, the demolished portion of the baghouse is supposed to be enclosed with a fabric material to help avoid any further disbursement of contaminated dust from the building,” he said. “EGLE late last week ordered an immediate stop to the baghouse demolition when we arrived onsite following a complaint we had received about dust from work at the facility.”

Brandenburg Industrial Service Co. is the contractor for the demolition work. Founded in 1968, the company is known for its expertise in demolition work, asbestos abatement, hazardous material removal, soil remediation, asset recovery and site preparation, according to its website. Brandenburg has six regional offices in the United States.

We Energies spokesperson Amy Jahns said Brandenburg chose to halt the demolition and that there are no community health risks. “Our contractor voluntarily halted demolition in the area around a plant baghouse which had contained dust,” she said. “We will collaborate with EGLE on conditions for a restart in that area. In the meantime, demolition will continue on unrelated parts of the plant as weather allows. There is no indication there was any health risk to the community.” EGLE has asked Brandenburg to provide a dust containment plan moving forward. “We have directed the demolition company to provide us with their fugitive dust plan for the project work,” Assendelft added. “Once we receive a copy of the plan, we will review it and explore the need for any other work or facility modifications to address this unique situation.”

Representatives with We Energies informed the Marquette City Commission in October that the full demolition was slated to be completed late this year.
The plant’s two chimneys were removed last summer, and universal waste such as light bulbs, ballasts, oils and grease, refrigerant and other materials have also been removed. Work on outer buildings of the plant is set to begin this year. The coal-fired plant was retired and taken offline in March 2019 and replaced with two natural gas plants located in Baraga and Negaunee Township.

Ryan Spitza can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. His email address is rspitza@miningjournal.net.

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