FEMA assessing flood damage in Wayne County Thursday

Assessment could free up federal funds to respond to flooding impact

FEMA to assess Wayne County flood damage Thursday
FEMA to assess Wayne County flood damage Thursday

DETROIT – Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are set to assess flood damage in Wayne County on Thursday, nearly two weeks after heavy rain caused serious flooding issues across the region.

On the weekend of June 25, 5-7 inches of rain fell across the Metro Detroit area over a short period of time, causing widespread power outages and subsequent pump station failures, which helped contribute to significant flooding along roadways and in and around homes.

Read: Another major flood event in Metro Detroit: Should we blame global warming?

Amid the destructive flooding, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a state of emergency and requested that FEMA come to Metro Detroit to assess flood damage. Whitmer hopes the agency will recommend that President Joe Biden declare a disaster, which would free up federal funds for response and relief efforts.

The state of Michigan is currently offering emergency financial relief to low-income residents who need home repairs due to flood damage. In Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan has pushed for financial relief, and is urging residents to hang onto photos of flood damage and receipts that show money spent on flood clean-up efforts.

More: Detroit residents frustrated with flood response, seeking assistance from city

Last week, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan discussed the flooding situation with President Biden, who was visiting Traverse City, who reportedly said that he wants to help the city with recovery efforts.

“He told his staff that he wanted the emergency order done for Detroit as fast as legally possible so we can get money into the hands of our residents for reimbursements as quickly as possible,” Duggan told Local 4.

Items damaged from the flooding have since piled up across Metro Detroit along street curbs and elsewhere. Several crews worked to clear up debris before the Fourth of July throughout Wayne County, but will still be running routes this week.

Officials have called for an investigation into pump stations in Metro Detroit that did not operate properly amid the severe weather, causing water to back up and flood freeways, roads and homes. Flood levels rose more than 3 feet inside many homes in the region. Water levels were high in the streets, too, until flood precautions kicked in.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller says the county had to release 96 million gallons of chemically treated sewage from the Chapaton Retention Basin and the Nine Mile Emergency Bypass into the St. Clair River to prevent flooding amid heavy rains.

“The Marter Pump Station on Jefferson at the Macomb County-Wayne County border was shut down in order to halt further flow to Conner Creek. In turn, combined storm sewer flow backed up beyond the capacity of the drainage district that serves St. Clair Shores and Eastpointe,” a press release read last week. “It forced Macomb County Public Works crews to discharge a total of 96 million gallons of chemically treated sewage from the Chapaton Retention Basin and the Nine Mile Emergency Bypass, both located at Nine Mile Road and Jefferson.”

“No system is designed for 6, 7 inches of rain,” Miller said last week. “But if there was any human error as well by not getting into the plant and flipping on the generator, or whatever happened there, we need to know, because all the public wants is competency in government. That’s a simple ask -- competency in government. They want transparency, they want accountability and so do we in Macomb County.”

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

New: Huron, Ionia, Washtenaw counties added to emergency declaration following severe Michigan weather

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