Detroit to begin cleaning, sanitizing basements for most vulnerable residents impacted by flooding

Currier Street flooding basement
Posted at 9:12 AM, Jul 13, 2021
and last updated 2022-03-17 20:15:42-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Cleaning crews will begin assisting Detroit's must vulnerable residents who were impacted by the June 26th flooding.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department finalized contracts over the weekend with seven companies to clean and sanitize the residents' basements. Landlords, per city ordinance, are required to clean their rental properties and will begin to face fines Tuesday, July 20, if they have not made the living conditions safe.

Residents who have the ability to clean their basements should have done so already or do it immediately. City resources will be used to help the most vulnerable residents – households with a poverty tax exemption and are over the age of 65, have a disability and/or children age 10 and under inside the home – can call 313-267-8000 to request a city inspector come to their flooded home and begin the process for the cleaning and sanitizing.

“Our responsibility is to help our most vulnerable residents during any crisis and the flooding is no different,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a press release. “We have taken steps to get crews ready this week. And, our renters have the right to live in a safe environment with hot water and a working furnace. We will make sure that landlords in our city are held accountable.”

The city said DWSD has received more than 23,000 individual reports of flood damage from across the city. Households who still have water, mold and other flood damage and meet the following requirements can request a city inspector to visit their home.

  • Approved poverty tax exemption and
  • Over 65; or
  • Have a disability; and/or
  • Children 10 and under in the household.

Within 48 hours of the call, one of the 60 inspectors from the Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department or the Detroit Health Department will visit the home to verify the conditions and determine what cleaning must be done to make the basement safe.

After the inspection report, a contractor will be scheduled to do an assessment prior to completing the cleaning and sanitizing, which could take a few hours or an entire day depending on level of impact.

The city estimates there are about 1,000 households that are currently eligible for the basement cleaning and sanitizing eligibility. These residents will be contacted to begin the process. If you have not yet reported your flood damage for the June 26 rain event, residents can call 313-267-8000 or go to The representative will be able to verify your information, including if you have an approved poverty tax exemption.

The work required in each home is different. Due to the volume and the level of work needed, the city said it will take a minimum of three months for eligible basements to be cleaned and sanitized.

The city also hired additional crews to help residents who don’t have the ability to clean out the flood damaged items in their basements and are seniors or persons with disabilities.