Environmental Affairs

This division was originally established as Department of Environmental Affairs, in 1995 by executive reorganization and adopted by vote of the citizenry as a staff department in the 1997 charter revision referendum. As a result of the FY 10 – 11 Budget, the Department of Environmental Affairs absorbed the Buildings and Safety Engineering Department creating the Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED). The Charter empowers Environmental Affairs (EA) to administer, enforce, manage and coordinate environmental protection policies in the City of Detroit.

EA interacts with federal, state and local agencies to improve and protect the City’s water, air, and land resources.  EA’s technical personnel are assigned to Environmental Assessment and Response (Brownfields) or Environmental Management Systems/Emergency Response, and Floodplain Management.  It is the liaison between the City and federal agencies such as USEPA, US Coast Guard, Army Corp of Engineers, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and MDEQ.  EA represents the City on several MDEQ governing bodies: Environmental Justice Workgroup, Environmental Advisory Council, Michigan Climate Action Council, Part 213 Work Group and Part 201 Steering Committee.

EA develops and implements programs that support sustainable development initiatives focusing on Brownfields Redevelopment and obtain funding for cleanup of contaminated sites. EA also assists city departments with environmental compliance by providing technical assistance and developing procedures to achieve compliance, and by giving guidance on the effective, sustainable use of the natural resources available to the City.

EA successfully leverages State and Federal grants and loan programs with local dollars to prepare Brownfield sites for reuse and redevelopment. Over the last ten years the City has received approximately $105 million in grant funding from the State of Michigan and $17 million from the Federal government in the form of removal actions, time-critical remedial activity, site assessment grants and revolving loan funds for cleanup.


  1. Develop and implement programs that support sustainable initiatives focusing on Brownfield Redevelopment.
  2. Obtain funding for the cleanup of contaminated sites.
  3. Foster legislative and regulatory initiatives at the state and federal levels that will assist the City and other similarly situated municipalities in meeting their environmental objectives through partnerships, programs, policies, and funding.
  4. Assist City departments with environmental compliance requirements and objectives by providing technical assistance and developing of policies and procedures.
  5. Develop and implement enforcement strategies to yield a cleaner environment and facilitate economic development.


  •  Continue to work with the Part 213 Implementation Stakeholders Workgroup to ensure that the City has influence in the development of policies, procedures, and audit forms to be used in the regulation of leaking underground storage tanks, primarily at current and former gas stations;
  •  Initiate abandoned dry cleaner assessment and remediation program;
  •  Continue to receive training in Brownfield Management and Remediation and other environmental practices in order to stay current with best practices in the field;
  •  Improved efficiency within the Right-of-Entry process by reducing the amount of extensions requested due to work not being completed during the applicant’s requested time-frame and reducing the number of Right-of-Entry permits that are requested, issued and subsequently not used;
  •  Actively pursue grant funds and other sources of revenue in order to become more self-sufficient;