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Detroit man's drain repaired after Help Me Hank gets involved

Max Chambliss gets help from Hank Winchester

DETROIT – Max Chambliss noticed a problem with the drain in his backyard last March and immediately called the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to report it.

"You can see it's starting to create a sinkhole," Chambliss said. "I want it fixed."

He said he received a work order number and someone came out and put barriers around the drain so no one would fall into the holes around it, but then nothing happened.

Chambliss, who lives in Victoria Park, proceeded to check in with the department in the weeks and months following that initial call, but the work was never done. His last call was in November, when he was told someone would get back to him within 24 hours, he said.

When that didn't happen, he called Local 4's Help Me Hank.

"Somebody could hurt themselves," Chambliss said. "I mean, it's only going to get worse. It's not going to get better. It's not going to build itself back up."

Help Me Hank reached out to  the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Within a couple of days, a crew was on-site investigating the problem, determining the catch basin had collapsed. It promised the repair would be done quickly.

The department released the following statement:

"DWSD field services researched the work order and the customer's complaint during the weekend. A team leader went to the location Monday to investigate. The catch basin near 531 New Town is collapsed. DWSD will repair the basin by the end of this week. During this investigation we also discovered the customer has a private backfill problem related to a backflow preventer on their private property. DWSD recommends the homeowner contact a licensed plumber to resolve that issue. We appreciate the customer and Help Me Hank bringing the catch basin matter to our attention. It's unacceptable the customer waited for several months to have the collapsed catch basin resolved. DWSD takes delivering prompt customer service very seriously, and will review our complaint intake process as a result."

The freezing temperatures delayed the repair, but DWSD completed Chambliss' repair during the milder weather over the holidays. A crew will be back in April to level the area with topsoil and spread grass seed.

"We encourage Detroit residents and businesses to report clogged catch basins, standing water and leaking fire hydrants using the Improve Detroit mobile app or by calling 313-267-7401," a spokesperson said.

For more information on the Improve Detroit app and to learn how to report a problem, click here.

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