Maintaining Detroit's Riverfront

The City of Detroit is committed to sharing information regarding Detroit riverfront inspections, clean up, and contamination prevention.

The Detroit River Shoreline Collapse

A portion of the Detroit River shoreline collapsed on Nov. 26, 2019, at the property at 5851 W. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit, where Detroit Bulk Storage receives, stores, and ships limestone aggregate. An area of land adjacent to the river appears to have collapsed or subsided, causing a portion of a pile of limestone approximately 40 feet high to spill into the river. The event destroyed about 250 feet of the concrete dock and underlying shoreline. Other sections of the seawall are still intact. The latest updates and documents from MI EGLE can be found here.

[Following information was updated on March 30, 2020]

Summary of action taken by City of Detroit:

  • 152 inspections performed by BSEED to date.

  • 975  tickets were issued to property owners for issues, including
    • failure to obtain a certificate of compliance,
    • failure to abate unsafe conditions,
    • unlawful storage of items outside, and
    • failure to maintain premises in good repair and/or inhabitable occupancy of premises.
  • 1 ticket was issued to Detroit Bulk Storage by Environmental Affairs with a potential $1,000 fine for dumping, storing, or depositing bulk solid material without a permit.
  • Current cumulative fines due by owner and operator are $44,870.00.

Actions taken toward owners/operators

The City of Detroit Law Department has filed lawsuits against both the owner of the site (Revere Dock) and the operator (Detroit Bulk Storage). The pending litigation establishes a channel of communication among the attorneys for the City, owner and occupant; it will also allow the City to require the Defendants to explain or justify delays in their work to repair the problems on the property. Revere Dock has responded.

EGLE recently rejected erosion control measures outlined in the Revere LLC report – Bank Failure Area Aggregate Removal and Visual Stability Evaluation Summary and their response to January 31, 2020 Compliance Communication submitted in response to  EGLE’s CC dated January 31, 2020.  EGLE also asked for more detail regarding the erosion control contingencies proposed by Revere LLC and further explanation of the settling issue regarding the associated depression that formed at the location of the subsidence.

Inspections of seawall structures

In response to this incident, BSEED will conduct annual seawall inspections of all riverfront commercial properties in addition to requiring an engineer's evaluation of the seawall every 5 years.

BSEED has completed the visual inspections of all commercial seawalls along the river and have issued 6 violations notices to address current issues. 152 property owners were issued letters requiring an engineering evaluation of their seawall. Of 152 owners, 11 have shared current engineering evaluations, 7 have committed to completing evaluations.

Public Information

BSEED has a current list of contaminated parcels along the Detroit and Rouge Rivers that is available on its Environmental Affairs website, here. It is also linked below in the Documents section of this page. We will update it in July and annually going forward after conferring with EGLE, EPA, and other relevant agencies. 

We will establish a centralized website [this website] to contain all updates, testing results and policy changes coming as a result of this incident and ensuring that all relevant documents are available on the site by March, 2020. These documents should address concerns regarding the security, stability, and safety of the site as noted above.

 

Emergency Response and Notification

[This section was last updated on 02/14/2020] DHEM has a new agreement with our local partners (MSP, Coast Guard, EPA and EGLE) to notify us regardless of the severity of an issue from "their" vantage point. Working on a similar agreement with Ontario, Provincial Emergency Management (Currently, their protocol is to "ONLY" notify the State).

DHEM has filed the proper form with the National Response Center (NRC) to request direct notifications (instead of through the State) on incidents reported to them that affect the City of Detroit and the surrounding area.  

DHEM is currently putting forward an RFP for an "URGENT" community notification system, to supplement our "EMERGENCY" community notification system.  

DHSEM has attended community meetings (and will be scheduled to attend more) and registered residents for our Ready-Op system, which allows us to send certain notifications to them via voice call, email and text simultaneously.  

Finally, DHEM has placed a registration form on our DHEM website to register more residents for this type of Ready-Op notification and DHEM are preparing a public service announcement to advise residents of that DHEM website registration.

Sign up for DHEM's Community Messaging System here.

Relevant Regulation

BSEED has reviewed the existing Bulk Storage Ordinance and determined that it is adequate to maintain the city’s riverfront. 

The Law department is working with City Council to create a new Water Body Protection Ordinance. 
 

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