East Boulevard Remediation

Consumers Energy has developed this website to provide the public with information about the proposed environmental remediation project at the East Boulevard former manufactured gas plant (MGP) located near East Boulevard south of East 5th Avenue and north of the Hamilton Dam in Flint, Michigan. The remediation project will address sediment impacted by historical MGP operations in the Flint River and impacts to shallow soil in the riverbank.

Background

About Manufactured Gas Plants (MGPs)

MGPs operated from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s across the country, prior to the installation of natural gas pipelines. MGPs converted coal and oil to gas for heating, lighting and cooking, similar to how natural gas is used today. By-products of this process included coal tar and purifier waste. Coal tar is a dark, viscous fluid that does not readily dissolve in water, and has a distinct odor, similar to roofing tar or mothballs. Purifier wastes were typically a mixture of wood chips and iron filings used to remove unwanted chemicals from the gas before it was distributed to the public. Compounds associated with MGP by-products include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes (BTEX).

Remedial investigations at the East Boulevard former MGP identified evidence of coal tar, the primary by-product associated with manufactured gas sites.

Site History

The East Boulevard former MGP operated in the area between 1871 and 1928. The plant was acquired by Consumers Energy in 1922 and was put on standby in 1928 before being retired in 1951. The plant structures have been demolished and portions of the former MGP property are now located on property owned by Consumers Energy, the U.S. Postal Service, the University of Michigan – Flint and the City of Flint.

MGP operations occurred in the former gasholder area, located at the northern portion of the site (currently a Consumers Energy parking lot) and in the former production area (currently University of Michigan – Flint’s “Parking Lot A”).

Photo courtesy of Special Collections and University Archives, Kettering University