New Michigan legislation would reinforce accountability of private dock owners

Local 4 Defenders investigation finds seawall damage putting Detroit River at risk

View of the Detroit River on Oct. 10, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.
View of the Detroit River on Oct. 10, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Michigan lawmakers have re-introduced legislation intended to protect waterways and public health by enhancing accountability of private dock owners.

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. The legislation is partly in response to that incident.

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

About a month after the Revere Dock collapse, another dock collapsed in St. Clair County. This led to a ferry not being able to travel to Harsens Island.

The legislation was introduced by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills) and Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor).

“We have an invaluable resource in Michigan in our great waterways, and we must do all we can to protect them at all times,” Sen. Bayer said.

The legislation would:

  • (Senate Bill 122 - Chang) Ensure statewide risk assessments would be conducted and a public database of findings be made available regarding contaminated properties along major waterways.
  • (Senate Bill 123 - Bayer) Require inspections of commercial and industrial docks.
  • (Senate Bill 124 - Geiss) Require notification regarding spills into our waterways.

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

The 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.

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.

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About the Author:

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