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About Us

This division was originally established as Department of Environmental Affairs, in 1995 by executive reorganization and adopted by vote of the citizenry as a staff department in the 1997 charter revision referendum. As a result of the FY 10 – 11 Budget, the Department of Environmental Affairs absorbed the Buildings and Safety Engineering Department creating the Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED). The Charter empowers Environmental Affairs (EA) to administer, enforce, manage and coordinate environmental protection policies in the City of Detroit.

EA interacts with federal, state and local agencies to improve and protect the City’s water, air, and land resources.  EA’s technical personnel are assigned to Environmental Assessment and Response (Brownfields) or Environmental Management Systems/Emergency Response, and Floodplain Management.  It is the liaison between the City and federal agencies such as USEPA, US Coast Guard, Army Corp of Engineers, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and MDEQ.  EA represents the City on several MDEQ governing bodies: Environmental Justice Workgroup, Environmental Advisory Council, Michigan Climate Action Council, Part 213 Work Group and Part 201 Steering Committee.

EA develops and implements programs that support sustainable development initiatives focusing on Brownfields Redevelopment and obtain funding for cleanup of contaminated sites. EA also assists city departments with environmental compliance by providing technical assistance and developing procedures to achieve compliance, and by giving guidance on the effective, sustainable use of the natural resources available to the City.

EA successfully leverages State and Federal grants and loan programs with local dollars to prepare Brownfield sites for reuse and redevelopment. Over the last ten years the City has received approximately $105 million in grant funding from the State of Michigan and $17 million from the Federal government in the form of removal actions, time-critical remedial activity, site assessment grants and revolving loan funds for cleanup.

 


OUR GOALS:

1. Develop and implement programs that support sustainable initiatives focusing on Brownfield Redevelopment.

2. Obtain funding for the cleanup of contaminated sites.

3.  Foster legislative and regulatory initiatives at the state and federal levels that will assist the City and other similarly situated municipalities in meeting their environmental objectives through partnerships, programs, policies, and funding.

4. Assist City departments with environmental compliance requirements and objectives by providing technical assistance and developing of policies and procedures.

5.  Develop and implement enforcement strategies to yield a cleaner environment and facilitate economic development.



MAJOR INITIATIVES FOR FY 2015-17: 

  •  Continue to work with the Part 213 Implementation Stakeholders Workgroup to ensure that the City has influence in the development of policies, procedures, and audit forms to be used in the regulation of leaking underground storage tanks, primarily at current and former gas stations;
  •  Initiate abandoned dry cleaner assessment and remediation program;
  •  Continue to receive training in Brownfield Management and Remediation and other environmental practices in order to stay current with best practices in the field;
  •  Improved efficiency within the Right-of-Entry process by reducing the amount of extensions requested due to work not being completed during the applicant’s requested time-frame and reducing the number of Right-of-Entry permits that are requested, issued and subsequently not used;
  •  Actively pursue grant funds and other sources of revenue in order to become more self-sufficient;

 

 

Brownfields

A brownfield is a site or property that has been abandoned or unutilized because they may be contaminated or thought to be contaminated; which makes the possibility of expansion, investment, and redevelopment impossible due to the presence of environmental contamination. Brownfields can create havoc in cities and states because of the direct impact that they impose on the economy.

The manifestation of brownfields evacuates neighborhoods, decreases the tax base, lowers property values on adjacent properties, increases crime and blight, eliminates jobs and weakens the K-12 education system by encouraging residents to flee into healthier neighborhoods.

EA believes that the presence of brownfields drains the City of Detroit’s valuable resources and impedes the progress of Detroit’s revitalization. When properties or sites are left vacant or unutilized, the properties get reverted back to the city because of unpaid taxes, rather than creating tax revenues for city’s public services. Once brownfields are reused, revitalized and restored, the tax base naturally rejuvenates itself while simultaneously generating jobs and decreasing the amount of crime and blight related issues.

In order to assist the city’s mission towards revitalization, BSEED-Environmental Affairs has worked on countless redevelopment projects, such as the clean-up activity located in Eastern Riverside; the district encompassed nearly 350 acres and stretches three and one-half miles, alongside the Detroit River and east of downtown. The goal for Riverside was to restore its historical glory while “showcasing the success of true renaissance”, essential uniting a city and community as one.

They greatly did so through collaboration, partnerships, compliance assistance and mechanisms of enforcement. BSEED actively collaborated with The Michigan Department of Environmental Authority (MDEQ), a state agency run that specializes in brownfield clean-up through outreach, technical assistance, and data collection while simultaneously protecting the environment.

In addition to collaborating with MDEQ on the Eastern Riverside project, BSEED and MDEQ work side by side with: USEPA-Grosse Ile, Michigan, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), city of Detroit Planning and Development Department (P&DD), Recreation Department, Law Department (Law), Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), and Department of Public Works (DPW), while employing the Redevelopment of Urban Sites concept (REUS), they are known as the “REUS Team”. Throughout the project their efforts eliminated waste by maximizing resources and relying on one another for technical expertise, thus advancing the city’s agenda.

As a result of collaboration between EA, MDEQ, and US EPA regarding health and safety issues, environmental assessments, and clean-up projects within the city of Detroit, a partnership was developed.  A committee named Redevelopment of Urban Sites (REUS) was formed to hold regularly scheduled meetings to address current and future Brownfield sites, issues and initiatives related to environmental and economic redevelopment, and the mitigation of any foreseeable threat due to adverse impacts from contaminated sites.


Brownfield redevelopment: The Eastern Riverside project 


before and after
Right of Entry

The City of Detroit's Environmental Affairs coordinates the City of Detroit’s Right of Entry (ROE) permit process for individuals, developers, and environmental consultants desiring to enter and conduct work on City-owned property or right-of-ways. Our responsibilities include reviewing permit requests, scope of work documents, figures/diagrams and insurance certificates. As necessary, EA conducts site inspections, contacts federal & state agencies and responds to emergencies. 


EA works closely with the Law Department to ensure insurance certificates meet the City’s requirements and to identify the property owner for the requested properties. The division also coordinates with various city departments that own property to acquire sign off on the ROE permit.



ROE REQUIREMENTS

The following items are required by the city in order to obtain a ROE:

  • ROE application and checklist
  • Detailed Scope of Work outlining the project and the requestor’s activities.
  • Detailed site map showing the location of the project and proposed activities.
  • Required level of insurance coverage – Certificate of Insurance and additional insured endorsements for Contractor’s General Liability, Automobile liability, and Pollution Liability.
  • Fees



Click Here for ROE Insurance Information 

How to complete a ROE application

Right of Entry Permit Application 

Have everything? ROE check List

Take a look at the ROE Approval Process 

BULK SOLID MATERIALS STORAGE

On October 31, 2017, the Detroit City Council passed an ordinance amendment to Chapter 22 of the City Code that regulates the storage of bulk solid materials.  The goal of the ordinance is to minimize the amount of fugitive dust released into the air.  Bulk solid materials are any solid materials that can be used as a fuel or as a component in a manufacturing or construction process that may create fugitive dust.  The ordinance amendment also requires that certain materials that are primarily carbon like coal, petroleum coke or metallurgical coke are stored completely within a structure.

Beginning on March 1, 2018, Detroit businesses that are involved in this activity can submit applications and supporting documents to obtain either a Certificate of Alternate Compliance or a Certificate of Operation. 

Resource Links:

Bulk Solid Materials Storage Application
Bulk Solid Materials Variance Application
General Compliance Fugitive Dust Plan Requirements
Alternative Compliance Operating Plan Requirements
Summary of Requirements for Alternative Compliance Qualified Solid Bulk Material
Summary of Requirements for Alternative Compliance for Scrap Processors
Summary of Requirements for General Compliance for Bulk Solid Materials.pdf
Summary of Additional Requirements for Carbonaceous Materials Bulk Storage
Bulk Materials Ordinance Final

 

 

 

 
Floodplain

Detroit regularly faces the hazards of flooding.  Flooding can happen anytime from the spring through the fall—even winter if warmer than usual temperatures lead to rain rather than snowfall.  Flooding tends to be caused by heavy rain: the faster the rainwater reaches the river channel, the more likely it is to flood. Heavy rainfall can also overburden the sewer system.  Check out the resources below for important information on the dangers of flooding:

What is a floodplain?

A floodplain is an area adjacent to a river that is subject to flooding. 

FACT: Floods are the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster and cause millions of dollars in damage every year.

What can you do to help prevent flooding? 

Water conservation! During heavy rainfall and snow melt, cutting consumption can make a difference when storm water threatens to overwhelm the system. Flush less, delay doing laundry, taking showers or running the dishwasher.

FACT: Homeowners and renters insurance does not typically cover flood damage. 

Is flood insurance necessary?

Flood insurance is important and can pay regardless of whether or not there is a Presidential Disaster Declaration. Flood insurance is necessary and can be the difference between recovering and being financially devastated. 

Community Rating System

The city of Detroit through its Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department has petitioned the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) program.  

The National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS:

  1. Reduce flood damage to insurable property;
  2. Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP, and
  3. Encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.

In order to become eligible, Detroit had to have received a favorable Community Assistance Visit (CAV) performed by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Water Resources Division (MDEQ-WRD).  The CAV Report was finalized in August of 2015. Upon completion, the Mayor requested to officially enroll the city in the CRS program with a letter to FEMA dated September 30, 2015. The request indicated that we will cooperate with FEMA, the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO), and the CRS verification process to ensure that our credited activities are fully earned and warranted.

We held our initial conversation with ISO staff on August 15, 2016 and conducted our required site visit on November 29, 2016, at which time several activities were outlined that the City could participate in to receive credits in the CRS.  Documentation of the City’s participation in the outlined activities was sent to ISO staff on April 21 and April 27 of 2017.  The City’s activities were scored by ISO and we received a total 1156 points.  This amount of points results in a CRS ranking of 8 for the City of Detroit.  This classification will be effective, starting October 1, 2017, for the next five years, unless the City submits a modification.  As a result of the CRS ranking of 8, residents who live in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and are mandated to maintain flood insurance on their property, can receive a 10% discount on the cost of their flood insurance.  Also, other Detroit residents who live outside of the SFHA, but still wish to have flood insurance on their property, can receive a 5% discount on their flood insurance.   

The discounts will be applied automatically upon renewal of the flood insurance, so when it is time for the resident to renew their flood insurance, there will be a line item in the invoice from the insurance provider showing a 10% reduction due to community participation in the CRS.  

Environmental Affairs also maintains copies of Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Flood Insurance Studies for review.  For more information you can contact Environmental Affairs at 313-471-5115.  

Download Flood Safety Information

Download Repetitive Loss Maps

More information can also be found at the following: 

http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov/
https://www.cdc.gov/phpr/infographics/br-floods.htm
https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/images/112636
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI6mIlHKrVY&feature=youtu.be
http://www.floodsmart.gov
http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program 
https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-community-rating-system
 

 
Contact us

BSEED

David Bell                                                       

Email: BellD@detroitmi.gov                           

Phone: (313)224-3252                                     

Position: Director


Raymond Scott                                   

Email: ScottR@detroitmi.gov                                                                        

Phone: (313)224-3250

Fax: 313.224.1467

Position: Deputy Director


ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS

Paul Max                                                         

Email: maxp@detroitmi.gov                           

Phone: (313)471-5115                                     

Fax: 313.224.1467                                                                                   

Position: General Manager


Anita Harrington

Email: HarringtonA@detroitmi.gov

Phone: (313)628-2459

Position: Environmental Specialist III


Hosam Hassanien                                         

Email: Hassanienh@detroitmi.gov                 

Phone: (313) 471-5110                                   

Position: Environmental Specialist II 


Rickelle Winton

Email: WintonRi@detroitmi.gov

Phone: (313)224-3257

Position: Environmental Specialist I


Malik Johnson

Email: JohnsonMal@detroitm.gov

Phone:  (313)224-9391

Position:  Environmental Specialist I


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