September 17, 2015
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Michigan State University Detroit Center
3408 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
GTF applied for funding; received the okay, next couple weeks there should be more information.
II General Introductions
III. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency –
US IPA _ Making a Visible Difference in Detroit
Jon Grosshans, US IPA Region 5
Detroit Federal Working Group
77 W. Jackson Blvd. SM-7J
Powerpoint and Discussion Highlights:
Grosshans discusses the narrative of Detroit’s challenges and the new theme of sustainability.
60 new busses coming to the streets due to federal and city communications
Discusses how do we increase the population of Detroit
Eliminate Blight –
There is lots of money for demolition; the team worked through logistics and environmental concerns, so it is now the fastest theme of blight reduction in the country.
EPA wishes to think of not just of their own needs, but connecting the dots of Environmental Justice, EPA Enforcement, Brownfield’s, Superfund, Air Permit
“We are using the relationships and resource studies we have to communicate the strengths and weaknesses. It starts with Core Activities for bigger results.” Such as:
Improve public safety
Provide better transportation
Build adequate housing
Restart lending market
Attract economic development
In regards to supporting Detroit’s Revitalization:
Discusses historic challenges of poor demolition practices-
Debris and contaminated soil in holes
Clay soils with no organic matter
Large rocks on surface, not level
Compacted soil – bulldoze 100x
No grass seed or ground cover
Land bank, city, state, EPA, Federal government sat together with Regina and had a meeting.
They went through each step and discussed what would make it better; explains examples,
responsibility of Illegal dumping, what goes back in the hole, soil testing, clay soil issues.
Now every lot better protects public health and is positioned for future reuse:
4-6 inch soil sponge on top to soak up water
Still working on salvaging materials, strategies for better accountability and sustainability
More people are now on board to assure better compliance is in place
“No city is in a better position to take advantage of the Green infrastructure projects available right now.”
GI on vacant parcels in Cleveland potentially an idea to use for improvement
Owned and maintained by sewer district; everyone is exploring design systems and it is good to see the sharing between cities so that ideas can be utilized.
2 things – 1) The water and sewer dept. now has a large budget to do this and 2) GI through the Great Lakes program greening vacant lots as pilots for new specs.
This creates availability to tap into larger funding sources – HUD, CDBG
DOT – Green Streets
GI – Permit (Now)
Great Lakes Restoration initiative
foundations and non-profit engagement
Planning and redevelopment
with more examples
Coming soon –
City auditing energy use in it’s entire municipality
Go to ww.energystar.gov/join to get it into the Portfolio Manager DTE software on Energy Star
HOW TO MOVE FORWARD
- Turn on the streetlights with LEDs
- Reduce Sewer overflows with GI
- Remove blighted buildings safely while creation tiny sponges to soak in stormwater
- Repair streets with noes pavements and design
- Rernovate buildings as energy efficient
What are the Legacy Issues?
- EPA is the org. that shows up when there is a building that needs to be cleaned up when it is found an issue.
- Building authority can call the EPA for items found in property that is left behind
- Called upon for chemical fires – (safe disposal of all chemicals found; sites are scattered all over)
- Shows examples of buildings and businesses that have been fixed through Brownfield mission
- Great Lakes are important for restoration; the industrial legacy of the Detroit River is being attended to fix degradation, contamination, habitat restoration
- Shows slide of funding given for various community engagements
- Shows slide of air monitoring – one of the most monitored cities in the nation; looking for more communications on enhancing the knowledge for people who need it
- Shows slides of Pending Resources and Opportunities
Q. Were you involved in the discussion of LEED and the issues?
A. Anything we can do for LEED, we can do for asbestos, so we look to wet the house and materials, contractor oversight, and making sure people follow through with what is needed.
Q. What can be done with Storm water on residential lots from the contaminated areas?
A. A lot of ways to downspout onto plants, from off the roads; you must look at the oils and contaminants as well. Things must be watched, (monitored).
Q. Please share about Environmental Justice information and framework. How can we collaborate?
- EPA 20/20 vision and blend the walk with the talk – the policy work talks about the need – Region 5 is defining the connections and actually doing the outreach.
Statement and ask about funding for retaining the homes –
EPA emphasis is that homes stay up when they can – “the best green home is the one that is already built.”
Utilizing code enforcement and assuring negative impacts don’t spread to other homes.
HUD funds are the bigger opportunity.
Q. How does a neighborhood tap into the funds and create jobs with the money opportunities from EPA?
A. Great Lakes Program and Eric from The Greening Of Detroit can be outreaches from those funds.
Other money has been given for small scale projects like cleaning up lots 2 or 3 at a time.
Labor in other projects creates jobs in the area.
The President’s call for action has gotten our region working; Michigan wants to figure it out for itself, DTE has a power project with solar, so climate change is in focus for several different cities worldwide. He believes this will continue and grow; including here locally.
Q. Our standards have grandfathered in the incineration of toxic waste products. Can there be a push from the EPA?
A. We usually don’t get engaged with local and state laws, so you will probably see the DEQ getting involved instead.
State components are in every decision made in the powerpoint; EPA feels they are offering assistance from the background. Do our best to be involved, communication-wise.
Q. Friends of the Detroit River Channel Clean Up – is there a size or criteria that EPA sees as a qualified super plan site?
A. Rose or Amy would be able to speak more to that than I. Usually you are creating local jobs and is less expensive to use local workforce.
Speaks to slide with various projects and opportunities.
Speaks on reporting mechanism needed for city to know that there are road issues.
Would like communication with subcommittee leaders for ideas and information on what is happening there/
Q. How do we divert things from landfills?
A. This is not a strong point and has not seen discussions on that.
What is the difference?
City gives $50.00 a ton in Chicago for recycling, here it is less than $10.00. The market in Chicago has created warehouses and marketplace for these things – we need a place to do this!
We need to establish those connections.
We are doing a market study on what comes out of the homes and what does that untapped market look like and how to strengthen it.
Q. How do we support job training for the needs that we have to promote and create this sustainable performance?
A. No green chemistry connections though EPA known at this time. GI workshop available.
Q. Regarding the job training and GI workshop, where does this fit into the city?
A. Dept. in Chicago still operates through the dept. of transportation; they are active and finding ways to do it through the sewer district and conservation core.
IV. Subcommittee update and discussion
World Heritage Site discussion with the U.N. – Kim asks of Mr. Grosshans
Q. How would EPA like to be involved in that?
- Created National Park, BF assessments, small funding may be available
Speaks to print-out and the fact that we don’t do it nationally – examples; Grand Canyon, Ellis Island, U.N. determines and lists these sites.
The River is 32 miles long, and we are looking for the riverbank to riverbank and surrounding Detroit area
Opportunities to educate the world on the history of the region: Examples – half the people who escaped through the Underground Railroad came through this area, indigenous peoples sacred meeting place, (1000 year old burial mound at Fort Wayne on the River).
Marketing Opportunities – Underground Railroad TV series slated for 2017, producers spending a lot of time focusing on Detroit and the River. NBC & Universal are funding some of this. Kim is Invited back to U.N. on October 5th to further discuss this. Updates to follow.
Finalized plan made; getting feedback from Planning and Development Department and then working on next steps.
Blue Green Infrastructure Subcommittee
Leadership transition, rethinking goals and strategies; finer point on them at next meeting; it was very productive.
V. Good of the Order
Irma – the 23rd of next week; Air Quality SO2 hearing – Wayne County is out of compliance with SO2 standards. We are asking that compliance become important.
March for Justice October 3rd – Roosevelt Park to Hart Plaza
Khalil – Coastal Cleanup this weekend; Belle Isle Beach Cleanup this weekend
Alliance for the Great Lakes website has details.