City council member blasts states pipe approval that would send raw sewage into Detroit River

It’s called “Relief Sewer,” and it would empty into Lake Saint Clair near Detroit River

DETROIT – A member of the Detroit City Council was blasting the state’s decision to allow Grosse Pointe Park to install a sewer that would send raw sewage into the lake during extreme rainstorms.

It’s called a “Relief Sewer,” and it would empty into Lake Saint Clair not far from the mouth of the Detroit River.

As you can imagine, the plan was getting pushback.

Detroit City Council Member Mary Waters sent Governor Gretchen Whitmer a letter asking her to rescind a permit issued by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy that she believes could result in the release of raw sewage into the Detroit River from Grosse Pointe Park.

“It is not acceptable,” said Waters. “There has to be something else that could be done with that waste.”

In February, EGLE issued the permit to Grosse Pointe Park, allowing them to construct an extreme emergency relief valve.

Grosse Pointe Park released a statement Tuesday (May 30) saying:

“Currently, there are 40 outfalls similar to the EERV that lead to Lake St Clair and the Detroit River. While we hope to never turn this on, it is here to safely protect residents and downstream residents, just as the 40 others do.”

Local 4 spoke to residents in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood Tuesday, who voiced concern about the project’s impact.

Waters says Detroiters deserve better.

“If you recall all the things that people have gone through in Jefferson Chalmers, basement backups, feces in the basement. So now we are going to take the waste and put the waste in the Detroit River and affect Detroiters even more,” she said.

Waters plans to host a meeting with impacted residents and invite EGLE officials.

Local 4 contacted the governor’s office for a response to the letter and has not heard back yet.

About the Authors:

Will Jones rejoined the Local 4 News team in February 2023 as a weekend anchor and reporter. He previously worked as a general assignment reporter for the station from 2012 to 2015.

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.