Trenton Channel Power Plant

The Trenton Channel Power Plant is a coal-power plant owned and operated by the energy corporation Detroit Edison. The plant is located in the town it was named for: Trenton, Michigan. The plant is certified as an official wildlife habitat by the Wildlife Habitat Council. It hosts an expansive butterfly garden for walkers and bikers, which rests alongside the Downriver Linked Greenways path.

The facility is situated in the mainland around West Jefferson Avenue. Its iconic striped smokestacks are designed to reduce the level of coal pollutants released into the air. It features a “smokestack within a smokestack” design that minimizes pollutant output. To prevent the stacks from catching aflame, Detroit Edison engineers lined the stacks with asbestos, but the asbestos was later removed to ensure public safety at great personal cost to the company.

The power plant is the subject of many local pieces of art, and is recognized universally by almost all inhabitants of Michigan for its unique appearance and likeness to other world-famous power plants. Detroit Edison and its parent company DTE Energy maintain that the coal plant and their company as a whole will play a major role in the transition to a cleaner, more efficient energy grid in the United States in the coming decades.

Despite its commitment to producing cleaner energy, conditions inside its plants may have been unsafe for employees because of the presence of asbestos. As an older power plant, its likely asbestos was used throughout the facility to insulate both the structure and the equipment inside, as it was once used in the facility’s smokestacks. The widespread use of these asbestos-containing materials means that as they aged, the asbestos was frequently released into the air, allowing it to enter the bodies of those working in these plants and lead to the development of numerous health conditions, including asbestosis and mesothelioma.