Local 85 revamps Michigan power plant

Local 85 members (l. to r.) Rick Babcock, Andy Brossia, Justin Betzer, and apprentices Jesse Green and Mike Schmitzer at DTE Energy’s Monroe, Mich., plant outage in March. They are prepping roof tubes for welding. All photos courtesy of Dennis Barker.

Members work at one of DTE Energy’s longest maintenance outages

MEMBERS OF LOCAL 85 (Toledo, Ohio) have successfully completed a maintenance outage for DTE Energy at its Monroe, Mich., power plant.

Scheduled for 12 weeks of 6/10s, members began their work for Boilermaker contractor URS Washington on March 13. They completed the job two weeks ahead of schedule, under budget, and with only one OSHA-recordable accident.

Local 85’s maintenance outage work was performed on the boiler’s internal system. It included replacement of over 2,000 feet of water walls, replacing the re-heat pendant and economizer pendant tubes, and additional work on the air heater duct work.

Members made over 500 crane lifts to remove the old pendant tubes and install the new ones. To access the re-heat pendant tubes, members had to remove the roof tubes, and then weld them back in place once the new pendant tubes were installed (see photos). Over 5,000 welds were made, with a total rejection rate of only 1.7 percent. Local 85 members worked over 100,000 man-hours in two shifts to complete the maintenance outage. The job peaked with over 300 Boilermakers on site, 200 of whom were either tube or plate welders.

Local 85 BM-ST Fred Keith credits the tripartite pre-outage planning by Local 85, DTE, and URS for the success of the maintenance outage. “Safety, production, and quality were outstanding on this project,” he said.

Built in 1974, the Monroe plant is the sixth-largest, coal-fired power plant in the United States.

Chartered in 1892, Local 85 represents workers in shops and the construction and shipbuilding/marine repair industries.