Detroit officials call on city to permanently ban company operating along Detroit River

Officials believe move will protect Detroit’s residents, environment

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

DETROIT – City officials are calling for Detroit to permanently ban Detroit Bulk Storage Inc. from operating anywhere along the Detroit River.

Officials said the company’s continuous violations have led to at least three docks collapsing along the Detroit River in the last decade, including the latest incident on Nov. 26, the second riverfront collapse since 2019. The collapsed was blamed on improper gravel storage by the company.

Read more: Violation issued for landowner in seawall collapse along Detroit River, 2 years after similar incident

The company came under more scrutiny for piling mounds of petroleum coke powder on property alongside the Detroit Riverfront near the Ambassador Bridge in 2013. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) determined the company didn’t have sufficient dust control measures to prevent air pollution from the petroleum coke.

Detroit Bulk Storage is a rogue corporation and terrible neighbor that has repeatedly violated its permits and state laws governing its operations,” said Councilmember Scott Benson. He represents the Detroit City Councils Third District and is chair of the Detroit Public Health and Safety Standing Committee. “Detroiters and other Southeastern Michigan residents shouldn’t have to worry about their health, safety, and welfare or the Detroit River because of an irresponsible business that shamelessly and repeatedly refuses to comply with the law.”

On Thursday Benson wrote a letter to Conrad Mallett, the interim corporate counsel, and David Bell, the director of the Detroit Department of Buildings, Safety, Engineering, and Environmental Department, where he requested immediate action against the company.

The letter received further backing from Alisha Bell, chair of the Wayne County Commission, Detroit City Council members and members elect, and environmental advocacy organizations including the Sierra Club of Michigan, Friends of the Detroit River and Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision.

“It is very important that we have good corporate partners and corporate neighbors, Detroit Bulk Storage is neither, Bell said. “The many violations make it obvious that they do not care about the citizens of Detroit or the environment.”

The letter is also supported by Doug Needham, Executive Director of the Michigan Aggregates Association. He said the organization greatly values and works to protect the environment by strictly following all regulations, permits, and laws.

“Anyone who repeatedly violates the public trust hurts our industry and makes it more difficult and expensive for us to serve the needs of Michigan families and businesses when rebuilding our state’s infrastructure,” Needham said.

Detroit Inspector General will oversee the debarment procedures. It’s unclear how long the process will take.

“We’re not going to allow them to continue to brazenly disregard the law,” said Benson. “Doing business in the City of Detroit is a privilege, not a right. If you’re going to continue to defy the law, we’re not going to allow you to do business here.”

Read more: EGLE: Samples taken from Detroit River after seawall collapse meet surface water quality criteria

About the Author:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.