Seawall damage puts Detroit River at risk, city issues tickets that are not being paid

Only $76K collected in fines out of more than $500k

The city of Detroit issued 1,054 tickets. A total of $506,350 was issued in fines and $76,000 in fines has been collected. Some Riverfront properties appear to be ignoring the city’s demand to make corrections.
The city of Detroit issued 1,054 tickets. A total of $506,350 was issued in fines and $76,000 in fines has been collected. Some Riverfront properties appear to be ignoring the city’s demand to make corrections.

DETROITThe Local 4 Defenders discovered another Riverfront business operating with a long list of violations on their seawall.

Last year, the Defenders exposed the unpermitted Riverfront business going on at Revere Dock, which ultimately resulted in a dock collapse, spilling contaminated soil into the Detroit River.

UPDATE: New Michigan legislation would reinforce accountability of private dock owners

The city of Detroit issued 1,054 tickets. A total of $506,350 was issued in fines and $76,000 in fines has been collected. Some Riverfront properties appear to be ignoring the city’s demand to make corrections.

The Defenders is digging deeper into one of the properties that has a long list of violations. The property is owned by Acquisitions Company LLC, a Maroun Family owned company.

Sen. Stephanie Chang, who represents the district by the Riverfront, said she is worried we are going to see high water problems along the Detroit River. She also worries that if the sites along the river don’t have proper seawalls, it will put public health at risk.

READ: Deal reached to fix Detroit Riverfront where dock collapse spilled contaminated soil into river

“One of the things that we found was that we really don’t have a great handle on all of our sites with industrial history along our waterfront,” Chang said. “Especially thinking about the fact that so many of us get our drinking water from the Detroit River. We need to make sure that it is protected.”

Local 4 Defenders have discovered a property owner in the 2700 block of Jefferson Avenue that is in violation with the city.

A correction order was sent six months ago to Acquisitions Company LLC, telling the owner that they failed inspection and corrections needed to be made by last August.

READ: Agency says tests of aggregate spill into Detroit River show federal guidelines for drinking water were followed

The report states that in several areas, the concrete cap is cracked and the timber piles show signs of failure in several areas. The report goes on to state that it does not recommend its use for mooring or berthing marine vessels.

READ: EPA coordinator discusses contaminated soil that spilled into Detroit River when dock collapsed

Gregg Ward has been an outspoken critic of how businesses and landowners are allowed to operate along the Riverfront.

“There is so much disregard for what the rules are and what the community safety requirements are,” Ward said.

Photos in the inspection report show the concrete cap separating, leaning toward the river and cracking. It also shows a sinkhole forming on the property.

Representatives told Local 4 that they are aware of the inspection report. They said they believe since the city permitted a concrete batching plant to operate there that they were in compliance as well.

The Defenders brought the findings to city officials to investigate further.

“Our violation notices were clear that they had to take action and we’re gonna hold their feet to the fire, so that we do not have another situation like we have had at Revere Dock,” said David Bell, director of Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED). “It’s very important that these seawalls are maintained so that you protect the waterways. You protect the people that work on these properties.”

The city said that it will be meeting with the property owners in the next two weeks to address the issue of violations and getting the sea wall repaired.

READ: Complete Local 4 Defenders coverage


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.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.