Defenders expose another business along Detroit River operating without a permit

Detroit Marine Terminal not permitted to store gravel-making material at site

The Local 4 Defenders have exposed another business along the Detroit River that is operating without a permit.
The Local 4 Defenders have exposed another business along the Detroit River that is operating without a permit.

DETROIT – The Local 4 Defenders have learned another company along the Detroit River has been operating without a permit while storing gravel-making material.

READ: Detroit Bulk Storage river spill: Officials deem containment plans not good enough; water quality checks out

This company isn’t far from Detroit Bulk Storage, which had part of its dock collapse into the river. Like Detroit Bulk Storage, Detroit Marine Terminal was slipping through the cracks and city officials didn’t know it was happening.

It’s easy to spot the huge pile of aggregate piled up along the riverfront at the Detroit Marine Terminal along Jefferson Avenue. The problem is the business has no permit to store gravel-making material at the site.

When Detroit Bulk Storage’s dock collapsed, it spilled contaminated soil into the river. City officials had no idea that company was operating, either.

“The fact this is happening makes me wonder how many other companies are operating without a license,” Local 4 Defender Karen Drew said during a conversation with Dave Bell, director of the city’s Building Safety Engineering and Environmental Department. “Can you say most assuredly other companies are operating legally?”

“No,” Bell said. “I can’t say that. We are going to address every complaint that we have.”

Now that the Defenders have uncovered another site operating without a permit, there are questions about how many others are still out there.

City officials told Local 4 that Detroit Marine Terminal is being fined $3,550 for operating without a permit.

Here is a statement from Bell:

This incident has brought to our attention the fact that we need to step up our property maintenance inspections on parcels along the river, due to the potential impact they have on our environment. This lot has not been permitted for the current use and had not been prioritized for property maintenance inspections over the past several years. We now have a new process in place to conduct regular inspections of every riverfront parcel once a year. Since the collapse at the Bulk Storage parcel, we have inspected more than 50 riverfront properties and will continue until each one has been inspected.”

About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.