‘It’s a city problem’: Detroiters say massive flooding could have been prevented

Residents want their voices heard

'It's a city problem': Detroiters say massive flooding could have been prevented
'It's a city problem': Detroiters say massive flooding could have been prevented

DETROIT – People living near the water on Detroit’s east side said massive flooding that filled basements with raw sewage should not have been as severe if all the pumps had been working.

“It shot up through the shower and the toilet. Feces. Everything all over my basement. And I had to deal with that. And I’m still dealing with it. And we can’t take it no more,” resident of 39 years Dorreen Curry said.

Read: Dozens of photos, video footage show I-94 flooding in Metro Detroit, cars underwater, messy aftermath

Residents in the Lakewood Neighborhood on Detroit’s east side said they’re fed up. They experienced the worst round of flooding they’ve seen in decades and they want help.

“The city either needs to pay to have someone come clean our basements or give us enough money to clean what we need,” Curry said.

The flood levels rose more than 3 feet high inside most homes. The streets did too until flood precautions kicked in.

“After awhile I heard something. I went outside and the water had just disappeared. They didn’t open the floodgates,” resident of 44 years John Conliffe said.

Gwendolyn Peoples has lived in the area for 49 years.

“It could rain all it wants. That’s an act of God. But you already knew it was already going to be a flood. The flood gates should have been open bottom line,” Peoples said.

Read: Official: Macomb County had to dump 96M gallons of treated sewage due to Detroit pump station failure

When residents refer to flood gates, they are talking about the Conner Creek pumping station. The Great Lakes Water Authority said it’s not fair to say the pumps failed. They said there was a malfunction.

Most of the 12 pumps in the city failed to pump water away from neighborhoods in time. Residents said they want their voices heard by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

The Great Lakes Water Authority said there will be an internal investigation into what went wrong at the pumping stations but there have been calls for independent investigations too.

Read: Steps to take if you were impacted by flooding in Metro Detroit


About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.