DTE Energy's Monroe plant 'scrubbing' emissions

MONROE, MI – DTE Energy Co.'s Monroe Power Plant has begun using new equipment that's part of a $1.7 billion overhaul to curb air pollutants.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press report Friday the utility installed the first of two flue gas desulfurization units - or scrubbers - at the plant in Monroe, about 35 miles south of Detroit.

The overall system is expected to reduce mercury emissions by 80 percent and nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide by more than 90 percent. Sulfur dioxide irritates the human respiratory system and nitrogen oxide contributes to acid rain, smog and global warming.

The new equipment helps meet government mandates and DTE will seek a rate increase to cover costs. The utility says it could add about $1 to customers' monthly energy bills.