DETROIT, MI — A Muskegon firm will pay $66,000 to the state of Michigan this month for violations of state environmental law following a major failure of the company’s Detroit dock, which collapsed into Detroit River last fall.
Revere Dock LLC owner Steve Erickson of North Muskegon has signed a settlement with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) that outlines plans to restore and upgrade the site, which partly sank into the river on Nov. 26, 2019.
The state announced the settlement Oct. 12 and said Erickson has until summer to finish restoration work at the 5851 West Jefferson Avenue property. Upgrades include a new 600-foot steel seawall to replace the old wood and concrete dock that collapsed after a large pile of construction aggregate was placed near the shoreline.
The collapse initially sparked fears of contaminated drinking water because the site was used in the 1940s and 1950s for atomic bomb material development. Testing by the Great Lakes Water Authority and EGLE subsequently found no excessive levels of radioactivity.
EGLE and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency testing also found industrial contaminants in site soils and sediment at the site collapse, but not at excessive levels.
The site is the former location of Revere Copper and Brass Co., which operated there for more than 60 years. Erickson has owned the site since 2015 and leased it to Detroit Bulk Storage. It is located next to the Historic Fort Wayne property.
In January, the city of Detroit fined Revere Dock $10,000 for illegally storing limestone at the site without a permit.
Restoration plans follow months of back-and-forth between Revere Dock and EGLE, which called earlier work plans inadequate and directed improvements.
EGLE said Monday it has approved site plans following a June public hearing. Those plans call for installing turbidity curtains to contain contaminated soil and sediment that will be dredged from the area where the collapsed bank material remains.
Revere Dock previously installed new fencing, a berm to guard against erosion near a sinkhole that developed after the collapse, and other interim measures this year.
Erickson released a statement through an attorney.
“We are pleased to be able to come to an agreement with the state which allows us to now focus on building the new seawall, per the state’s highest standards, as permitted last week. Work will begin on the new seawall as soon as feasible.”
EGLE says the fine, which must be paid by Oct. 17, is “compensation for the cost of investigation and enforcement activities” and violating several sections of the state Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA). Detroit environmental justice activists had pushed the state to ensure no public money was spent on site remediation.
The consent agreement Erickson signed on Aug. 8 cites four violations of NREPA: discharging a substance into waters of the state may harm the public, animals or fish; unlawful occupation and filling of floodplain and stream channel; violations of due care responsibilities and filling of Detroit River bottomlands without a permit.
EGLE says the agreement compels Revere Dock to complete the permitted work by July 2021.
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