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Impending severe weather in Metro Detroit has DWSD crews prepared for another round of floods

Residents, businesses asked to prepare for possibility of flooding

A flooded basement in Grosse Pointe Farms.
A flooded basement in Grosse Pointe Farms.

DETROIT – The threat of more severe weather Tuesday evening in Metro Detroit has Detroit Water and Sewerage Department crews preparing for another round of floods.

DWSD is urging residents and businesses to prepare for the possibility of heavy downpours causing flood damage. They should check their drains and move items off of basement floors. Make sure there is no debris in nearby catch basins or on top of street drains.

Crews assigned to the Tuesday afternoon shift are prepared to work extended hours and/or double shifts in order to clean catch basins, pump water off streets and inspect city sewers.

Here are more tips from DWSD:

How to reduce flooding impact

  • Make sure valuables are stored several feet above basement floors in case you experience a flooded basement.
    • Store valuable items in water-tight containers.
    • Where possible, move valuables to an upper floor prior to and during rain events.
  • Check your basement drains to make sure they are not clogged and no items are over them in case they are needed if water enters your basement.
  • Clean your gutters and make sure there are no items blocking the downspouts.
    • Help your neighbors do the same, especially seniors and persons with disabilities.
  • Clear leaves, trash and other debris from above and around the catch basins near your home or business.
    • Move cars parked over the catch basins.
    • Make sure no objects, including garbage and recycling bins, are on top of storm drains.
  • Rain storms can push trash left on streets and property into catch basins on streets, causing street flooding due to clogs. That can potentially lead to blockages in the city’s combined sewer system.
  • Stay clear of standing water in your basement or lower level of your home if the area includes electrical appliances, outlets or a fuse box.

How to help reduce sewer clogs

  • Don’t flush anything in your toilet except waste and toilet paper.
    • Flushing anything else might cause your sewer line to clog and back up into your basement.
  • Don’t put anything but water into the drains -- no grease, oils, fats or other debris.
  • You should do these steps every day, not only during rain events.

Flooded basements

Basement backups can be escalated by private infrastructure failures, according to DWSD. If you experience a basement backup, be cautious, take photos and if there is damage, file a DWSD damage claim within 45 days of the incident, experts said.

Basement backups can happen for many reasons, including clogged private sewer service lines, basement wall cracks, tiling issues, storm line cracks or other private infrastructure issues, DWSD officials said. At times, it can happen due to the demand on the public sewer system, according to DWSD.

In 90% of basement backup cases, the cause is a private infrastructure failure, DWSD reports. Property owners are responsible for the sewer infrastructure on their parcels, including the sewer line from the structure all the way to the connection at the city’s sewer pipe, while DWSD is responsible for the city’s sewer collection system, according to the department.

How to report flooding

Report street flooding by using the “Improve Detroit” SeeClickFix mobile app for Apple and Android devices, through Facebook messaging at www.facebook.com/DWSDDetroit, or by calling 313-267-8000.

Report if you have water in your basement by calling DWSD at 313-267-8000, and if there is damage, file a claim at www.detroitmi.gov/waterdamageclaims.

DWSD sewer cleaning

DWSD officials say improving sewer system capacity has been a priority. This year, the department reports it has cleaned more than 200 miles of the city’s combined sewer system. In the past three years, the department has cleaned 575 miles of city sewers and nearly 31,000 catch basins, while also lining or rehabilitating another 50 miles of city sewer, according to DWSD.


About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.