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Here is Detroit’s response to environmental policy demands along river

City responds with inspections, violations

The Local 4 Defenders exposed another business along Detroit River operating without a permit in January 2020.
The Local 4 Defenders exposed another business along Detroit River operating without a permit in January 2020. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Here is how Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration is responding to demands for policy changes after a dock collapse spilled contaminated water into the Detroit River and spurred inspections at facilities along the Detroit River.

The city of Detroit issued 401 violations that carry $162,895 in fines to five properties along the Detroit River. The city conducted 152 inspections of riverfront companies in a three-week period. Overall, 401 violations have been issued. The city said five of those properties were operating with unsafe conditions and no certificate of compliance while three were operating illegally.

Here are policy change demands from environmentalist organizations, media members including Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit, and concerned citizens:

1. The City of Detroit should require regular inspection of shoreline control structures at all facilities along the Detroit river. The Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department’s (BSEED) commitment to require these inspections every 5 years is a wonderful step in the right direction and this policy should be codified in city ordinance.

City’s response: We agree and are moving forward with annual visual inspections of the seawall. We are also requiring an engineer’s evaluation of the seawall every 5 years and look forward to collaborating with our colleagues at City Council to appropriately codify the engineer evaluation into law.

2. The City of Detroit should maintain a list of heavily contaminated parcels along the Detroit and Rouge rivers and ensure that this list is made accessible to the public.

City’s response: We have a current list that will be made publicly available within 60 days on our website. We will update it in July and annually going forward after conferring with EGLE, EPA, and other relevant agencies.

3. In collaboration with Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and community stakeholders, Mayor Duggan should direct his administration to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the City of Detroit’s current emergency response and management systems to identify areas of concern and improvement, especially those concerns related to this and similar environmental incidents. Reports from this assessment should be made public.

City’s response: Based on this incident, we are conducting an Interagency After Action Review to determine how we can improve our procedures going forward. Part of this will be a revision of the triggers and escalation procedures with the relevant agencies so that similar events or other unexpected events short of a full blown emergency have a notifications procedure. We will complete this process within 6 months and will report the results back to this group.

4. A review of the bulk storage ordinance should be conducted as it relates to this incident. If necessary, provisions related to setback from waterways, height and weight requirements should be strengthened.

City’s response: While our initial analysis indicates that this event was not a result of gaps in the ordinance, but rather a gap in enforcement of said ordinance, we are analyzing the current structure of the ordinance to determine whether any modification should be made to ensure that we are doing the most that we can to protect public and environmental health and safety. We will pass our recommendation onto the City Council Public Health and Safety Committee, after being reviewed by the Law Dept.

5. Granting permits to repeat offenders will send a bad message to residents and to responsible businesses without a troubled record disregarding city rules. Thus, the City of Detroit should factor in this incident, along with previous violations, when reviewing future permits from this company.

City’s response: We will take past conduct into account when considering future permit requests. We must also follow applicable laws governing the rights of private property owners and their ability to use their property for legally allowable uses.

6. The City of Detroit should establish a centralized website to contain all updates, testing results and policy changes coming as a result of this incident and should coordinate with the EPA, EGLE, and other relevant government stakeholders to ensure their appropriate updates are included.

City’s response: We commit to setting up this website 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.

Meanwhile, the city of Detroit has filed a lawsuit against the two companies behind the dock collapse.


Contact the government with any of your environmental pollution concerns:


More on the 152 completed inspections

Here is the city of Detroit’s summary of the 152 inspections and 401 violations issued at the five properties including 4461 W Jefferson, 5701 W Jefferson, 5851 W Jefferson, 100 Meadowbrook and 100 Marquette (find the full list of violations at the bottom):

(3) Properties:

  • Illegal Use
  • Unsafe Conditions
  • No Certificate of Compliance

(2) Properties:

  • Unsafe Conditions
  • No Certificate of Compliance

4461 W Jefferson ($73,015):

Violation code: 8-15-19

  • Occupancy of building, premise or structure not maintained in habitable sanitary and safe condition
    • $100.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-221

  • Unlawful storage of items outside of commercial building
    • $100.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-23

  • Failure to maintain premises in good repair
    • $100.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-35 (d)

  • Occupancy without certificate of compliance on building
    • $250.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-35

  • Failure to obtain a certificate of compliance
    • $250.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-37

  • Failure to abate unsafe condition of building, premises structure
    • $1,000 fine

Violation code: 8-15-38

  • Failure to abate unlawful occupancy of building
    • $1,000.00 fine

5701 W Jefferson ($22,400):

Violation code: 8-15-19

  • Occupancy of building, premise or structure not maintained in habitable sanitary and safe condition
    • $100.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-221

  • Unlawful storage of items outside of commercial building
    • $100.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-23

  • Failure to maintain premises in good repair
    • $100.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-35 (d)

  • Occupancy without certificate of compliance on building
    • $250.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-35

  • Failure to obtain a certificate of compliance
    • $250.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-37

  • Failure to abate unsafe condition of building, premises structure
    • $1,000.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-38

  • Failure to abate unlawful occupancy of building
    • $1,000 fine

5851 W Jefferson (64,780)

Violation code: 8-15-19

  • Occupancy of building, premise or structure not maintained in habitable sanitary and safe condition
    • $1,000.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-221

  • Unlawful storage of items outside of commercial building
    • $100.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-23

  • Failure to maintain premises in good repair
  • $100.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-35 (d)

  • Occupancy without certificate of compliance on building
    • $250.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-35

  • Failure to obtain a certificate of compliance
    • $250.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-37

  • Failure to abate unsafe condition of building, premises structure
    • $1,000.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-38

  • Failure to abate unlawful occupancy of building
    • $1,000.00 fine

100 Meadowbrook ($1350.00)

Violation code: 8-15-23

  • Failure to maintain premises in good repair
    • $100.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-35

  • Failure to obtain a certificate of compliance
  • $250.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-37

  • Failure to abate unsafe condition of building, premises structure
    • $1,000.00 fine

100 Marquette ($1350.00)

Violation code: 8-15-23

  • Failure to maintain premises in good repair
    • $100.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-35

  • Failure to obtain a certificate of compliance
    • $250.00 fine

Violation code: 8-15-37

  • Failure to abate unsafe condition of building, premises structure
    • $1000.00 fine

Here are the 401 violations issued by the city:

  • The fines total at $162,895.00.

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