Landowner responds 10 weeks after dock collapse, contaminated soil spill into Detroit River

Revere Dock LLC issues statement

The landowner is responding for the first time 10 weeks after a dock collapse and contaminated soil spill into the Detroit River.

DETROIT – The landowner is responding for the first time 10 weeks after a dock collapse and contaminated soil spill into the Detroit River.

Revere Dock LLC, owner of the land at 5851 W Jefferson Ave., has been avoiding the Local 4 Defenders’ request to talk. We went to their Muskegon headquarters and to the owner’s home. Finally, they are issuing a statement. It’s lengthy (read in full below) but does include a statement that reads “it appears that the collapse was the result of the weight of gravel placed in close proximity to the shoreline at a time of unusually high water levels."

The company goes on to say it has plans to have “contractors in place to begin construction of the new sea wall next month." The mentioning of the sea wall is pretty interesting since when the company first bought the property nearly five years ago they told Detroit City Council they had plans on constructing that sea wall, but it never happened.

Delray residents concerned, reps frustrated

“We’ve been asking for help. Help, and please stop doing this to the residents,” Candid Leon said.

Leon raised her five children in the Delray community and now cares for her grandchildren here.

“I’m worried for my grandchildren,” she said.

Detroit Councilwoman Raquel Castañeda-López wants to see better communication -- remember it took days for the city to be notified about the Nov. 26 dock collapse

“I think a lot of people were frustrated with how it was handled,” she said. “Homeland Security has to tweak the system of chain of command and communication to make sure that people are aware of situations like this.”


The councilwoman is also worried about what is told to City Council and what is actually done. In a 2015 video the Defenders obtained, a representative for Erickson’s -- who it turns out owns Revere Dock LLC -- talks to Council about building a sea wall if they are approved to purchase the Revere Dock site.

“The immediate phase would be $8 million,” they said.

But in the actual purchase agreement there was no commitment of building a sea wall.

“So, that’s something we’re still investigating. To see how that fell through the cracks. Because those were commitments that were made,” said López.

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-13th District) wants the city of Detroit to keep a better eye on businesses to make sure they are permitted to be in business. She also wants the city to crack down on these companies not paying their bills to the city -- Revere Dock LLC owes more than $35,000 in drainage fees.

“I just don’t think Revere Dock is serious about it and neither is Detroit Bulk Storage,” said Tlaib. “I mean, this is our source of water. And, these are, you know, forever chemicals. These are not the kinds of chemicals that you can come back from. And, it’s not like you can just wipe it away. You know when I watch my resident get there water shut off, losing their homes for less than $1,000 dollars, and now they’re seeing a company like this that thinks this is a free for all."

Detroit Bulk Storage has been leasing the property from Revere Dock LLC.

Meanwhile, the challenged community is outraged. They say there seems to be different rules for residents and businesses.

“I do care for me and for my grandchildren, and I do care for the little ones, so why does this government not care about us?” said Leon.

Full statement from Revere Dock LLC, dated Feb. 7, 2020:

We appreciate the opportunity to share some facts about this ongoing situation:

Revere Dock LLC is the owner of the property located at 5851 W. Jefferson in the City of Detroit. Since August of 2019, it has leased the property to Detroit Bulk Storage, which has used the property to receive and store aggregate materials such as sand and gravel.

On November 26, 2019 approximately 200 feet of shoreline, including 100 feet of dock along the Detroit River at the property unexpectedly collapsed into the River, immediately adjacent to the property. While the cause or causes are still under investigation, it appears that the collapse was the result of the weight of gravel placed in close proximity to the shoreline at a time of unusually high water levels.

Testing performed to date by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and evaluations conducted by Revere Dock’s consultants PM Environmental and G2 Consulting Group indicate that there is no immediate threat to the environment or public health and safety as a result of the collapse.

Monitoring has not detected further land movement to the River and, importantly, there is no “sink hole” as has been speculated and reported. The site is being monitored regularly to ensure that it remains stable.

Revere Dock has been and will continue to be committed to working cooperatively with all regulatory agencies to restore the site as quickly as possible. The engineers at G2 and PM Environmental have been working with EGLE, US EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers to develop and install temporary measures to secure the site and long term designs to replace the seawall.

Revere Dock plans to have materials on site and contractors in place to begin construction of the new seawall next month. The duration of the project will be determined by the final design of the new wall, but we expect it to take several months to complete.

As for the Complaint recently filed by the City of Detroit against Revere Dock and Detroit Bulk Storage, Revere Dock will respond to the Complaint in due course through its legal counsel, which has already met with staff and attorneys for the City of Detroit and is hopeful that a plan can be worked out to the City’s satisfaction to resolve the Complaint, restore the site and bring it into compliance with applicable City regulations.

Revere Dock LLC is committed to fixing this situation in accordance with all applicable regulations and to the satisfaction of all local, state and federal regulatory agencies.

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About the Author:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.